Cuttlefish only live for a year! The size of cuttlebones that wash ashore help us guess what’s happening in the ocean throughout the year. Giant Australian cuttlefish spawn AprilSeptember, and large cuttlebones become common from October.

10 all together

The cuttlefish has even more appendages than its famous cousin, the octopus. It has 8 arms plus 2 feedings tentacles that are covered in tiny suckers and are used to distract and grab prey. As these appendages are connected to their head they belong to the Cephalopod family, which means ‘head foot’. The scientific name ‘sepia’ describes the dark brown ink that cuttlefish can squirt in defense.

Like a submarine

Cuttlefish aren’t really fish; they’re actually molluscs and even have the remnants of a shell! But its on the inside not the outside, and its called the ‘cuttlebone’. It’s full of pockets that can be filled with air to help them float, or water to sink, alowing them to hover up and down just like a submarine.

Masters of disguise

Cuttlefish can change the colour of their skin in less than a second! They can also change their skin’s texture, creating bumps and ridges that blend with rocks, seaweed and coral. They don’t just use their chameleon abilities for camouflage though- they also use it to put on amazing light shows which mesmerise prey, attract mates and deter predators!

Cuttlefish cross-dressing

Scientists have discovered that smaller male cuttlefish, which can’t compete with the larger more dominant males during the mating season, have learnt to cross-dress as females!

While the larger males are busy competing against each other, the cross-dressers change their colours and behaviours to act like a female, allowing them to sneak into the breedings grounds and quickly snatch up a girl for themselves.


Depending on the season, you might find a cuttlefish hovering up and down in AQWA’s the Perth Coast!