Metasepia pfefferi   

Family: Sepiidae 


DISTRIBUTION: Western Australia to northeastward, Queensland the southern coast of New Guinea and also the Philippines.

HABITAT: sand and mud substrate in shallow waters at depths of 3 to 86 m. 

APPEARANCE : The normal base color of this species is dark brown. Individuals that are disturbed or attacked quickly change colour to a pattern of black, dark brown, and white, with yellow patches around the mantle, arms, and eyes. The arm tips often display bright red coloration to ward off would-be predators.

DIET: Active diurnal foragers on a variety of foods, especially fish and crustaceans, including “hard-hitting” mantis shrimp. Encircling the mouth are 8 purplish, blade-like arms with rows of suckers used to manipulate prey and 2 flattened, retractable tentacles which can be rapidly extended to catch prey.

MORTALITY and LONGEVITY: Life span: c. 1 year. Remarks: This fellow’s flamboyance may also carry a warning message. One researcher recently claimed this species to be the only cuttlefish known to be toxic, asserting that muscle tissue of this species possesses a toxin as deadly as that of its cephalopod relative, the blue-ringed octopus! Aquarists beware, certainly until further substantiation.

REMARKS: Animals displaying this color pattern have been observed using their lower arms to walk or “amble” along the sea floor while rhythmically waving the wide protective membranes on their arms. It has been suggested that this behavior advertises a poisonous or distasteful nature. The flesh of this cuttlefish is poisonous, containing a unique toxin.

LOCATION: Color Cluster  PR12