Common Cuttlefish

  • Scientific name: Sepia officinalis
  • Also known as: European Cuttlefish, European Common Cuttlefish
  • Size: Up to 50cm in length
  • Distribution: Found all around the UK but much more common in the southern areas of England and Ireland.

Also known as the European Cuttlefish, or sometimes the European Common Cuttlefish. They are generally found around south of England and Ireland, although they may be found in isolated numbers further north on a sporadic basis. They are also found throughout the Mediterranean and their range extends along the northern coast of Africa. The common cuttlefish has a flattened body with two fins running along either side. Looking closely at the tail of a cuttlefish will reveal that these fins are separate and do not meet. The head is broad with eyes located on either side. The eyes have unusual W-shaped pupils. There are eight arms with multiple rows of suckers on each. Like a squid, the cuttlefish also has longer tentacles. However, these tentacles are kept tucked away in pouches by the side of the head when the cuttlefish is not using them to catch prey. There is no set colour for the common cuttlefish and this species is capable of changing its colour to blend in with surroundings and escape the attention of predators.

The common cuttlefish is most common at depths down to one hundred metres, although they can be found down to depths of several hundred metres. Common cuttlefish can grow up to half a metre in length and weigh up to 8lbs. However, cuttlefish of this size and weight are rare and generally live in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean and off the coast of Africa. Generally, cuttlefish found in the colder waters around the UK generally grow to a smaller maximum size of around 25 to 30cm. This species will feed on the seabed on a variety of different food sources such as prawns, small crustaceans and dead and rotting organic matter. Like squid species, the common cuttlefish is valuable commercially, and as a non-quota species large numbers can be taken by British fishermen, leading to concern over long-term numbers, although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently classes this species as one of Least Concern.