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Giant Australian Cuttlefish

Sepapama by Mark Norman
................................................(Sepia apama)

Location and Habitat
click for info on pic The Giant Australian Cuttlefish (Sepia apama)is found in waters from less than a metre deep to probably around 100 m off Southern and eastern Australia

Description
click on pic for info Australian Giant Cuttlefish (a solitary creature) is by far the biggest type of cuttlefish growing up to a length of 1 meter and up to 3 kg They have a big flat broad head with 2 large eyes with 8 tentacles (arms) and 2 extendable feeding tentacles emerging from this head The 2 feeding tentacles which are used for feeding retract into pouches between the bases of the third and fourth arm pairs. Along their sides they have thin fins
It breathes like fish through gills

Internally they have a spongy chalklike internal shell(cuttlebone)which gives the body its shape The cuttlefish has three hearts, which pumps blue blood

Anatomy of a Cuttlefish

Movement
Slow movement is obtained by using its thin fins located along their sides Propulsion is increased by using jets of water squirted out from a funnel Australian Giant Cuttlefish swim with their tentacles close to their body, and cuttlefish regulate their buoyancy by pumping water in and out of the gas filled cuttlebone to change the volume (and thus buoyancy) of the gas. to enable them to maintain the depth they wish click for info on pic

Defense
Cuttlefish have the ability to change their colour to match their background, even the texture of its skin to be more like sand or seaweed and can push up fingers of soft skin to impersonate the shape of seaweeds or rubble.
They can also eject ink from an ink sack just like an octopus to confuse and disorientate enemies so it can escape

Feeding
They actively forage amongst seaweeds and seagrasses catching shrimp, fish, prawns, crabs and other crustaceans. They use their 2 extendable feeding tentacles to snatch their catch, which is then mashed up by a hard "beak" (jaws)

click for info on pic Breeding
Individuals breed from April to July. This is the time they come closer to the surface and thus can be observed A courting and mateship dance ends up with the male and female entwining their tentacles together. The eggs (hundreds)are then laid a short time later often in litle coral caves or on rocky reefs further south. The eggs take a couple of months to hatch

LINKS
The Cephalopod Page (TCP)- Sepia apama
The cephalopod Page : Octopuses,Squid Cuttlefish etc
Another picture


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