• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Paper on Cuttlefish Mortality


Colossal Squid
Nov 19, 2002
Dunedin, New Zealand
Came across this in the library last night & thought it might be of interest. pm me if you want more info!


CLINICAL MANAGEMENT Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 31(4): 523–531.


Six out of seven cuttlefish acquired by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in July 1998 died before 1 November 1998. Postmortem examinations showed mantle ulcers, secondary bacterial infections, inanition, and cuttlebone fractures. The surviving cuttlefish developed a progressive focal mantle ulcer, was treated with oral chloramphenicol intermittently for 9 wk, and maintained a normal appetite and growth rate until death at 7 mo of age. The National Zoological Park pathology database showed signalments, histories, and causes of mortality of 186 common cuttlefish, each 1–14 mo old, that received gross and histologic examinations; for example, the largest group of cuttlefish of known sex, age, and body weight at postmortem were 7–9 mo old and weighed an average of 376.2 g (males, n 5 18) and 299.0 g (females, n 5 15). Many cuttlefish had multiple pathologic diagnoses. Significant diseases included inflammation and secondary bacterial infections, especially gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, and ophthalmic, and septicemia due to Vibrio spp. or other gram-negative bacteria. Mantle lesions, including ulceration/dermatitis, abscess/granuloma, necrosis/fibrosis/cellulitis, and laceration abrasion/erosion, were also identified, along with inanition, cuttlebone lesions, and trauma. Mantle lesions were associated with secondary bacterial infections and death. On the basis of this information, if captive cuttlefish behavior creates risk for development of mantle lesions, administration of antibiotics effective against gram-negative bacteria may delay or halt disease progression. Cuttlefish exhibits require proper design, husbandry, economic resources, and staffing to minimize disease syndromes and mortality.
Did the paper mention the size and/or shapes of the tanks they were housed in? S. officinalis do better in round or round-backed aquariums. Also density of animals in the aquarium can cause male/male aggression resulting in the animals jetting backwards into the walls of the exhibits.

This is why I had an 8 foot diameter circular tank for my S. officinalis. The proper term for the mantle lesions is "butt-burn" :grin: . They often develop secondary infections after abrading their mantles. While it is interesting that the animals recovered, they only lived 7 months... I would think normal lifespan would be closer to 12 months.
Sponsor Banner
please support our sponsor
advertise on TONMO

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.