Sepia officinalis


Cuttlefish are relatives of squid and octopuses - a group of molluscs known as cephalopods. The Common Cuttlefish is a predator, feeding on molluscs, young fish and crabs. It lives in water up to 200 metres deep but comes into shallow water to breed. When cuttlefish die, the large, chalky internal shell, known as 'cuttlebones' often wash up on the beach.

How to identify

Cuttlebones are white, chalky and oval-shaped with thin harder 'wings' at one end. Cuttlefish are thick-set squid that have well-developed heads, large eyes and mouths with beak-like jaws. They have a fin that runs around their body, eight 'arms' with suckers plus two tentacles around the mouth. Cuttlefish are extremely variable in colour, but are usually blackish-brown, mottled or striped.

Where to find it

Found around the coasts of England and Wales.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Cuttlefish provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Sepia officinalis
Squids and octopuses
Length: up to 45cm Average Lifespan: less than 2 years
Conservation status