Cuttlefish, decapod ("ten-footed") MOLLUSC
of class Cephalopoda. Cuttlefish comprise over 100 species in genera Sepia
. They are characterized by porous, calcareous, internal shells, best known as cuttlebones, which are given to caged birds as a source of lime salts. The pores are gas filled to adjust the animal's buoyancy, and even dead shells float. Cuttlefish have oval bodies up to 60 cm long and look rather like flattened SQUID
. Thousands of nervously controlled chromatophores (pigment-bearing cells) give them capabilities for camouflage and pattern formation, eg, mating males display a revolving zebra-stripe pattern unequalled in nature.
To escape predators, they darken, eject a gelatinous, cuttlefish-shaped, dark brown ink-blob decoy, turn pale instantly and swim away. Sepia ink, derived from and named for the organism, has been used as an artist's medium. The closest Canadian relatives are 4 species of small Rossia, all lacking cuttlebones. They have been found in Canadian waters of all three oceans. In the Atlantic, 2 other species, Semirossia tenera and Stoloteuthis leucoptera can also be found. All 3 genera are found in the family Sepiolidae under the order Sepioidea.
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.
CephBase is a comprehensive multimedia database that provides taxonomic data and other scientific information for all living species of cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus.) Created by James B. Wood and Catriona L.Day. Check out the amazing undersea video clips.