Sepia (cephalopod)

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Temporal range: Miocene – Recent[1][2]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Sepiida
Family: Sepiidae
Genus: Sepia
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Sepia rugosa
Bowdich, 1822

Acanthosepion Rochebrune, 1884
Anomalosepia Khromov, 1987
Doratosepion Rochebrune, 1884
Hemisepius Steenstrup, 1875
Rhombosepion Rochebrune, 1884
Sepia Linnaeus, 1758

Sepia sp.

Sepia is a genus of cuttlefish in the family Sepiidae encompassing some of the best known and most common species. The cuttlebone is ellipsoid in shape. The name of the genus is the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek σηπία, sēpía, cuttlefish.

Parts of a sepia


All members of Sepia share the presence of eight arms and two tentacles. Tentacles are retractable limbs used to target and latch onto prey, whereas arms are used for handling prey and producing patterns of light and dark to distract prey. Once a prey item has been caught, the tentacles detach from it and have no other function. The tentacles reside in sheaths that run below the eyes and behind the head, into the visceral mass, where they are reserved as coiled, spring-loaded appendages, waiting to be sprung.


The species listed above with an asterisk (*) are questionable and need further study to determine if they are a valid species or a synonym. The question mark (?) indicates questionable placement within the genus.

Extinct species[edit]

Fossil cuttlebone of the Pliocene species Sepia rugulosa

A number of extinct species have been described from the Neogene of Europe, though many of these are likely synonyms.[4] They include:[4]


  1. ^ Whiteaves, J.F. 1897. On some remains of a Sepia-like cuttle-fish from the Cretaceous rocks of the South Saskatchewan. The Canadian Record of Science 7: 459–462.
  2. ^ Hewitt, R.; Pedley, H. M. (1978). "The preservation of the shells of Sepia in the middle Miocene of Malta". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 89 (3): 227–237. doi:10.1016/S0016-7878(78)80013-3.
  3. ^ Neethiselvan, N. & V.K. Venkataramani 2010. "A New Species of Cuttlefish, Sepia vecchioni (Cephalopoda, Sepiidae) from Colachal Coast, South India".[permanent dead link] Journal of American Science 6(4): 12–21.
  4. ^ a b (in German) Hiden, H.R. 1995. "Sepia vindobonensis (Cephalopoda, Coleoida) aus dem Mittel-Miozän von Retznei (Steiermark, Österreich)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-22. Retrieved 2012-11-15. Mitteilungen der Abteilung für Geologie und Paläontologie am Landesmuseum Joanneum 52/53: 111–124.

External links[edit]