- Range depth
- 100 (low) m
- 328.08 (low) ft
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range mass
- 10.5 (high) kg
- 23.13 (high) lb
- Range length
- 50 (high) cm
- 19.69 (high) in
- Average basal metabolic rate
- unknown cm3.O2/g/hr
The development of (Beeton, 2011)is exhibited through two alternative life cycles for both females and males. One life cycle encompasses 7 to 8 months to reach maturity during the first summer; during this time, rapid juvenile growth takes place. In contrast to the first life cycle, the second alternative involves slower juvenile growth during the summer; instead of reaching maturity within 7 to 8 months, the cuttlefish reaches maturity within the second year.
Reproduction in the giant cuttlefish is promiscuous, characterized by large spawning aggregations, multiple mating and paternities, potential sperm competition, and female choice. Males elaborately use their color changing abilities to attract female males by flashing their chromatophores. Less dominant males disguise themselves by assuming female coloration and can "hide" among females until they find an opportunity to mate when the dominant males are distracted (the "sneaker male" reproductive phenomenon). (Norman, 2000; Norman, 2007; Payne, 2010)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
As in all cephalopods, fertilization is internal, with the male transferring spermatophore packets into the female's mantle cavity using a specially modified arm called the hectocotylus. A female may mate several times with multiple males during a spawning aggregation. As the female spawns, the eggs are fertilized by sperm from the spermatophores that the male has attached near her oviduct, inside her mantle cavity. Cuttlefish do not feed during the breeding season, and after breeding, individuals die. (Karleskint, et al., 2013; Payne, 2010)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Females may mate several times in their lives.
- Breeding season
- Reproduction takes place during several months of the Australian winter.
- Range number of offspring
- 100 to 300
- Range gestation period
- 3 to 5 months
- Average time to independence
- 0 minutes
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 1 years
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 1 years
After the egg capsules have been laid, the female cuttlefish abandons them and dies shortly after, so there is no further parental investment. (Norman and Reid, 2000)
- Parental Investment
This species is a terminal spawner. Individuals mature in one year and die after breeding, though there are reports of individuals having lived 2 years. (Beeton, 2011)
- Range lifespan
- 2 (high) years
- Range lifespan
- Average lifespan
- 1 years
- Average lifespan
Many aspects of the giant cuttlefish’s behavior can be observed through its dynamic ability in changing colors and patterns. While (Hansford, 2013; Karleskint, et al., 2013; Norman and Reid, 2000; Norman, 2000; Norman, 2007)is generally solitary, they interact with conspecifics during mating season, when males attract females by flashing their chromatophores. Though cuttlefishes are colorblind, they can camouflage themselves in total darkness within seconds. This instantaneous skill is possible by blending simple colors in order to form a great variety of hues in conjunction with a layer of cells called leucophores, which reflect white light. The leucophores allow cuttlefishes to blend in with their environment by precisely matching the ambient light level and color without the animal even needing to use their eyes to detect the color environment around it. This species may display an innate curiosity towards SCUBA divers.
Radiotracking studies of this species reveal that individuals spend more than 95% of the day resting, which suggests that they do not actively forage for food, but instead are lie-and-wait predators. (Aitken, et al., 2005)
- Average territory size
- no territory cm^2
Individuals do not seem to migrate daily or seasonally, except to return to their spawning grounds. Radiotracking studies revealed that one individual moved 65 km to return to the spawning aggregation in Spencer Gulf. (Payne, 2010)
Communication and Perception
- Other Communication Modes
Small fish and crustaceans form the diet of this cuttlefish. When cuttlefishes are catching prey, they approach slowly and stealthily. When they are within striking distance, they thrust out their two tentacles (which are tucked away in a pouch located under their eyes) and seize their food in a fast, rapid motion. The tentacles then contract, bringing the prey item to the mouth, where the cuttlefish's arms enclose it. Cuttlefish also use their beaks to crack the shells of prawns and crabs, and their radula, lined with teeth, scrapes tissue so it can be swallowed. (Martin, 2010)
- Animal Foods
- aquatic crustaceans
The unparalleled camouflaging ability of cuttlefish is their primary defense against predators. Not only are cuttlefish masters of color manipulation, but they also excel at changing the textural appearance of their integument. Unsurprisingly, this talent goes hand-in-hand with their ability to change body color, but they take their disguises to the next level by changing their body shape. Contraction of circular muscles in the integument allows the animal to “sculpt” their skin into different textures that resemble seaweed, debris, and other elements of the background environment, making the outline of their bodies less conspicuous. Nevertheless, they can fall prey to seabirds and marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins. (Hansford, 2013)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
The Australian giant cuttlefish is a secondary and tertiary consumer in the neritic ecosystem; their feeding activities help regulate the populations of their fish and crustacean prey. The cuttlefish in turn serves as prey for sea birds, sharks, dolphins, and pinnipeds. (Hansford, 2013)
- Dicyemid mesozoans (phylum Rhombozoa)
- Dicyema coffinense
- Dicyema koinonum
- Dicyema multimegalum
- Dicyemennea spencerense
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
The main economic utilization of Psittaculidae) and canaries (genus Serinus) use the soft, calcareous material to clean and sharpen their beaks. The spawning aggregations that occur annually in Spencer Gulf, South Australia attract hundreds of divers, scientists, and ecotourists to view this spectacular event. (Norman and Reid, 2000; Payne, 2010)is as food and bait. They are caught incidentally as by-catch in trawl fisheries, and on a small-scale using jigs, hooks, and spears. The inner shells ("cuttlebones") are used in the pet trade; captive birds like parakeets, parrots (
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse effects ofon humans.
Dianne Aglibot (author), San Diego Mesa College, Paul Detwiler (editor), San Diego Mesa College, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
- Pacific Ocean
body of water between the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), Australia, Asia, and the western hemisphere. This is the world's largest ocean, covering about 28% of the world's surface.
Referring to an animal that lives on or near the bottom of a body of water. Also an aquatic biome consisting of the ocean bottom below the pelagic and coastal zones. Bottom habitats in the very deepest oceans (below 9000 m) are sometimes referred to as the abyssal zone. see also oceanic vent.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
active at dawn and dusk
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
imitates a communication signal or appearance of another kind of organism
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
an animal that mainly eats fish
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
structure produced by the calcium carbonate skeletons of coral polyps (Class Anthozoa). Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists. The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others
uses sight to communicate
2013. "BBC Nature - Giant cuttlefish videos, news, and facts" (On-line). Accessed September 22, 2013 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Australian_Giant_Cuttlefish.
2013. "Fisheries | Cuttlefish" (On-line). Accessed September 10, 2013 at http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries/recreational_fishing/target_species/cuttlefish.
Department of the Environment and Water Resources. Molluscs of commercial, recreational, cultural and ecological significance. 4.12. Kingston, Tasmania: Commonwealth of Australia. 2006. Accessed December 12, 2013 at http://www.researchgate.net/publication/235223445_The_south-west_marine_region_ecosystems_and_key_species_groups_Report_prepared_for_the_National_Oceans_Office/file/60b7d51584b149ae62.pdf#page=259.
Aitken, J., R. O'Dor, G. Jackson. 2005. The secret life of the giant Australian cuttlefish Cephalopoda): behaviour and energetics in nature revealed through radio acoustic positioning and telemetry (RAPT). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol, 320: 77-91.(
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Catalano, S. 2013. Five new species of dicyemid mesozoans (Dicyemida: Dicyemidae) from two Australian cuttlefish species, with comments on dicyemid fauna composition. Systematic Parasitology, 86/2: 125-151.
Hansford, D. 2013. "Cuttlefish Change Color, Shape-Shift to Elude Predators" (On-line). Accessed October 10, 2013 at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080608-cuttlefish-camouflage-missions.html.
Karleskint, G., R. Turner, J. Small. 2013. Introduction to Marine Biology, Fourth Edition. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
Martin, N. 2010. "Species Spiels: Giant Australian Cuttlefish (http://www.fishabout.com.au/news/article/species-spiels/giant-australian-cuttlefish-sepia-apama-by-nick-martin/.)" (On-line). Accessed November 13, 2013 at
Naud, M., R. Hanlon, K. Hall, P. Shaw, J. Havenhand. 2004. Behavioural and genetic assessment of reproductive success in a spawning aggregation of the Australian giant cuttlefish, Animal Behaviour, 67/6: 1043-1050..
Norman, M. 2000. Cephalopods - A World Guide. Germany (Hackenheim): ConchBooks.
Norman, M., A. Reid. 2000. A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia. Victoria (Collingwood): CSIRO Publishing.
Norman, M. 2007. "Species Bank" (On-line). Accessed September 22, 2013 at http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/species-bank/sbank-treatment2.pl?id=69365.
Payne, N. 2010. Approaches to Understanding the Population Dynamics and Behaviour of . University of Adelaide, South Australia: Unpublished thesis. Accessed December 12, 2013 at in Northern Spencer Gulfhttp://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/69711/1/02whole.pdf.