Sepia vermiculata

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Common Cuttlefish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Sepiida
Family: Sepiidae
Genus: Sepia
Subgenus: Sepia
Species: S. vermiculata
Binomial name
Sepia vermiculata
Quoy & Gaimard, 1832

Sepia vermicularis is known as the common cuttlefish or ink-fish in South Africa. It is endemic to this region.


This cuttlefish is found around the South African coast from Saldanha Bay to Algoa Bay, subtidally to at least 40m.[1]


The South African common cuttlefish has an elongated body with ten arms bearing rows of suckers. Two arms are elongated tentacles used for catching prey. Paired lateral fins extend the whole length of the body. The upper surface of the body is smooth, with rippling bars of colour and the animal is usually well camouflaged.


Eggs are laid on sea fan arms

This animal lives on reefs and feeds on shrimp and small fishes. A gas-filled internal shell is used for buoyancy. The eggs are pea-like and black or white and are usually seen attached to sea fans. The animal is capable of rapid changes of colour for camouflage, threat displays or for communicating mating readiness. A male ready to mate will show dark brightly rippling colours as he approaches another cuttlefish. If the other cuttlefish is either a male cuttlefish or a non-receptive female, the other cuttlefish will also show dark brightly rippling colours as a threat display. If the other cuttlefish is a receptive female, her colours will remain pale and head-to-head mating will take place.[2] It may also lift two arms above its head when disturbed, possibly as threat gesture.


  1. ^ Branch, G.M. Griffiths, C.L. Branch, M.L. Beckley, L.E. 2000 Two Oceans: A guide to the marine life of southern Africa. ISBN 0-86486-250-4
  2. ^ Branch G. and Branch, M. 1995. The Living Shores of southern Africa ISBN 0-86977-115-9

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