- Cuttlefishes (cuttles) are marine (salt water) animals of the order Sepilda with a unique internal shell which is the cuttlebone. These are marine cephalopod molluscs with ten arms because they have eight short arms and two long tentacles with which they grab their prey.
- The tentacles are finely toothed suckers. This is opposed to octopus that has eight long tentacles.
- There are 120 known species of cuttlefish and they become mature at 14 to 18 months.
- Cuttlefish do not live for a long time. Their average lifespan is between 18-24 months.
- They usually reproduce during spring. The male cuttlefish grabs the female until they are face-to-face. The male uses a specialized tentacle that inserts sperm sacs into the mouth of the female. Then once fertilized, the female cuttlefish lays eggs which will be attached on shells and seaweeds on the seafloor. Female lays several hundred eggs. The eggs will hatch within 2 months. The sad thing to know is the female cuttlefish dies after spawning.
- Cuttles have a very distinct behavior. The skin can quickly change its color for protection. This allows them to escape from predators. The chromatophores are elastic pigment sacs responsible for camouflage.
- It has a beak that looks like a parrot’s beak. It is hidden at the base of its eight arms. The mollusc uses this to subdue its prey by biting and also for defense against predator.
- Cuttlefish has a hard, brittle internal structure which is called cuttlebone. It composes of aragonite. The cuttlebone is an ideal dietary supplement for pets like birds because it contains calcium and minerals that helps the formation of bones of birds and blood clotting.
- The eyes of cuttlefish are stunning. Its pupil is horizontally spit which becomes circular while in darkness and turns to w-shape in bright light.
- The cuttlefish has three hearts.
- The smallest cuttlefish is 15cm but some can be as big as half a meter (not including its tentacles).
- Some cuttlefishes are edible. The flesh works best for marinating. The ink (melanin which looks like shade of brown) can be used to flavor pasta dishes and rice.
- Beware. The brightly colored flamboyant cuttlefishes are not edible because their muscle tissue contains a powerful toxin. They can be found mostly in tropical countries such as Australia, New Guinea, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
- Cuttlefish hunt for their food. They love hanging out in coral reefs and in shallow waters where there are abundance of prey. They eat small crabs, shrimps, snails, worms, fish, and even octopuses. Snatching is its skill. In situations like lack of food, they practice cannibalism.
- They communicate by controlling the pigment of their skin.
On a side note
Cuttlefish vs squid
Cuttlefish has a broader internal part called “cuttlebone” while squid has intenal bone-like structure called “pen” which is slender. Squids move faster compared with cuttlefishes.