Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Sepiida
Family: Sepiidae (Cuttlefishes, shell internalized)

Genus/species: Sepia bandensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:. Sepia bandensis has 8 arms with rows of suckers along each and 2 feeding tentacles. It moves by the undulation of lateral fins that surround the body. Cuttles have an internal shell within their bodies that they can fill with more or less gas to create neutral buoyancy. The cuttlebone is often collected and used as a calcium supplement, beak sharpener, and all-purpose toy for caged birds.
Like most cephalopods, cuttlefish have 3 hearts. Two hearts pump blood to the gills, and a central heart pumps oxygenated blood to the body.
Length: 5 cm – 10 cm (2 in – 4 in)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Indo-Pacific region, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Found in shallow coastal waters near or on coral reefs or sandy substrates.


DIET IN THE WILD: Crustaceans and fish. The Cuttlefish changes colors and patterns as it approaches prey then ejects its feeding tentacles to capture its prey with its suckers and eating it with a parrot-like beak and a radula. Active diurnally.

ACADEMY DIET: Shrimp and crab (M Avila, staff biologist)


LONGEVITY: Life span: 6 mos. to 3 yrs.

eggs below


REMARKS: Masters of camouflage, cuttlefish and most cephalopods can change their colors, shapes and textures in seconds to avoid predators and blend into their surroundings. They have keen vision, but are color blind.

They also produce large amounts of ink, both as a decoy and foul-tasting deterrent. Known as sepia ink, after the genus name of cuttlefish, it was a dye once prized by artists.

The Steinhart Aquarium is the first institution in the U.S. to breed dwarf cuttlefish. To date, (2010) more than 350 have hatched at the Academy, most of which have been sent to other aquaria and research institutions. Quote from Rich Ross, Academy biologist and cuttlefish breeder extraordinaire: Over time, [cuttlefish] learn to recognize and respond to you, and will often greet you when you walk into the room (or maybe they just know you bring the food). 

Color of Life note: Cuttlefish are excellent examples of cryptic coloration. Chromatophores in the cuttlefish skin are controlledneurologically, allowing almost immediate color change disappearing into its background right before your eyes.
Ref: California Academy Color of Life exhibit


California Academy Color of Life exhibit

The Marine Biology Coloring Book 2nd Ed. Thomas Niesen 2000

EOL Encyclopedia of Life

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