Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Sepiida
Family:i Sepiidae

Genus/species: Metasepia pfefferi

Ron’s flickr VIDEO LINK

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 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. The mantle and head are covered with flap-like, fleshy protuberances (papillae),and a V-shaped fleshy ridge runs along the underside. Yellow fins flutter along the sides to propel the animal slowly though the water or along the substrate.

Max mantle length: 6–8 cm (2.5-3.14 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Flamboyant Cuttlefish is found from Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, to Australia. Found in shallow, low-energy tropical marine waters (3 to 85 m) with mud, sand, or coral rubble

DIET IN THE WILD: M. pfefferi are 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.

LIFE SPAN. 18 and 24 months

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Data Deficient   <a href=”″ rel=”nofollow”></a>. 2012

REMARKS: One researcher recently claimed M. pfefferi 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!

They also can produce ink as a defense.

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.

Ron’s WordPress Sshortlink

One of the most well known features of cuttles is the cuttle bone, which is often used by pet owners to provide calcium for caged birds. Cuttlefish use this multi chambered internal calcified ‘shell’ to change buoyancy by quickly filling or emptying the chambers with gas. Interestingly, while the cuttle bone of most cuttles is as long as the animal’s mantle, the diamond shaped cuttlebone of the Flamboyant is disproportionately small, thin, and only 2/3 to ¾ of the mantle length. The small size of the cuttlebone may make swimming difficult and may accounts for the Flamboyants preference to ‘walk’ along the bottom.

References: California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Hidden Reef  Richard Ross

Advanced Aquarist Volume IX › October 2010 › Aquarium Invertebrates: Metasepia pfefferi – the aptly named Flamboyant Cuttlefish.      Great overview

Animal Diversity Web

Ron’s WordPress Sshortlink

Ron’s flickr