Seiche commune  - Aquarium La Rochelle

Common Cuttlefish

Sepia officinalis
  • Group
  • Size
    25 centimetres
  • Distribution area

    Cuttlefish live on the ocean floor off the shores of the Eastern Atlantic, from the Baltic Sea to Northwest Africa.

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Cuttlefish belong to the cephalopods group, which literally means « feet on the head ».

They each have 10 tentacles with suckers, two of which they can stretch out to capture their prey. They have a rough version of an internal shell, wrongly called a « cuttlebone », despite the fact that it's made out of calcium. This lightweight shell made of tiny cavities allows the cuttlefish to float without having to constantly be swimming.


Cuttlefish can burrow into the sand or hide under rocky spurs. With their gift for mimicry, they easily blends in with their environment by modifying their colouring.


After mating, the female lays her eggs, liming them one by one with mucus and attaching the other end to a support. The whole forms a black bunch of « sea grapes ». The eggs hatch after one to three months, producing 1 cm long young cuttlefish.


From birth, cuttlefish hunt small crustaceans on sight. They then move on to more diverse prey, like crustaceans, fish and other cephalopods that they cut up with their horny beaks after injecting them with a toxin.

When faced with danger, they flee, excreting a cloud of ink to confuse their attackers.

« The species name (officinalis) refers to the pharmaceutical use of cuttlebone in Linnaeus's day. Rich in calcium, it is still used today as a dietary supplement to help strengthen the skeleton. »

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