Sepia officinalis


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Sep 4, 2006
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Sepia officinalis: A new biological model for eco-evo-devo studies

Yann Bassaglia, Auxane Buresi,Delphine Franko,Aude Andouche,Sébastien Baratte,Laure Bonnaud

Paper gives a good description of the officinalis cuttlefish and egg development and would be helpful to anyone raising an egg.

2.1. Development and organogenesis The life span of S. officinalis does not exceed two years. Females undergo just one reproductive round and die shortly after. In the field, eggs are laid near the coast in spring. Particularly, in the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean, they may be exposed to air and/or desalinated rainwater due to daily tides. Eggs are attached in batches and surrounded by thick black gelatinous envelopes (capsule) potentially protecting the embryo from environmental aggressions.
The development of all cephalopods, including S. officinalis, is direct: the adult bauplan is achieved with neither visible larval stage nor metamorphosis event within the egg capsule (Boletzky, 2006). After 3–4 weeks (at 25 °C in the laboratory), a young cuttlefish hatches and promptly adopts the adult necto-benthic mode of life (Fig. 1, left). Within the egg capsule the zygote cleavage gives rise to a disk-shaped embryo at the animal pole of the telolecithal egg, whereas the vegetal pole shows a thin layer of ‘extra-embryonic’ ectoderm cells that cover the yolk. The first organs start delineating when the animal pole is shaped as a disk (from stages 15 to 19, based on Lemaire's system, 1970). The arms and mouth are located at the periphery while the mantle is central (Fig. 1A, left). Then, the embryo expands (stages 19 to 21) and the future adult antero-posterior axis clearly appears (stage 22 to hatching) as the mantle and the whole visceral mass tip out while the arm crown and the head still face the yolk mass (Fig 1A, right).
New protocols to improve the deposition and hatching of Sepia officinalis’ eggs
Nadia B. Barile, Sabatino Cappabianca, Luigi Antonetti, Mariaspina Scopa, Eliana Nerone, Giuseppina Mascilongo, Sara Recchi & Antonio D’Aloise 2013
(full PDF)

Another good paper that provides hard to find information about officinalis eggs and hatchlings

From the introduction:
The reproductive period of Sepia officinalis lasts about 7 months (4, 21). The freshly laid eggs have a diameter between 5 and 9 mm and are fixed by the female to any type of natural (rocks, macroalgae, seagrass) and artificial (ropes, fishing gear, pieces of iron, etc.) substrate.Development is direct, incubation lasts in average 1 month at 20 °C, however it can spam from 30 to 60 days, depending on the temperature. At the time of hatching the young cuttlefish, which measure about 10 mm (length of the mantle), are already able to hunt independently and assume quickly a benthic lifestyle. The cuttlefish present along the Atlantic coast reach a maximum size of 45 cm and weight of 4 kg, while in the Mediterranean basin they reach a maximum length of 35 cm (usually from 15 to 25 cm). The lifetime is generally between 18 and 24 months although some males can live longer (up to 36 months).
Common Cuttlefishes, Sepia officinalis MarineBio

Article includes a variety of information topics as well as links for additional information

Description & Behavior
The amazing European or common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis (Linnaeus, 1758), reaches a maximum mantle length of 45cm, although one individual has been recorded at 60 cm. Their mantle (the main body region above their eyes) houses their cuttlebone, reproductive organs, and digestive organs. A pair of flat fins span the entire length of their mantles, which they undulate rapidly when swimming. Their head is located at the base of their mantle, with two large eyes on either side and sharp beak-like jaws in the center of their arms. They have eight arms and two longer tentacles for capturing prey that can be retracted completely into the body. Adults can be recognized by their white lines branching from the base of their flared third arms.

The basic coloring of common cuttlefishes varies, although they typically display a mottled black or brown color. Color changes are possible due to three types of structures contained within its skin, called chromatophores, leucophores and iridophores, which are small structures filled with colored ink which can be expanded and contracted to communicate with others or that can form patterns and textures used as camouflage, often mimicking the surrounding landscape. These structures basically allow cuttlefishes to reflect a myriad of colors, and even change the textures of their skin.

The name Sepia refers to the type of ink they house within their bodies. This ink is used to deceive large predators when they try to attack cuttlefishes. When a predator is near, they shoot their ink into the water to confuse the predator, while they jet (hopefully) to safety.

Cuttlefish (Sepiida) are in an Order of mollusks that possess an internal shell called the cuttlebone. The cuttlebone is made of calcium carbonate and plays a dominant role in these mollusks' buoyancy; it is divided into tiny chambers in which the cuttlefish can fill or empty of gas, depending on its needs. They are in the Class Cephalopoda which is the group that contains cuttlefish, octopuses, squid, and nautiloids such as the chambered nautilus.

Influence of environmental parameters on the life-history and population dynamics of cuttlefish Sepia officinalis in the western Mediterranean
Stefanie Keller,Maria Valls, Manuel Hidalgo, Antoni Quetglas 2014 (subscription)

The cuttlefish Sepia officinalis constitutes an important fishery resource in the Mediterranean, where it is exploited by both the bottom trawl and small-scale fleet. However, there is currently scarce information on the Mediterranean stocks, since most studies on the population dynamics of this species have been undertaken in the northeast Atlantic. In this work we first analysed different aspects of the cuttlefish life-history from the western Mediterranean such as population structure, reproduction and the trade-offs between somatic condition and reproduction investments. Secondly, we investigated the effects of different environmental parameters (e.g. climate indices, sea surface temperature (SST), rainfall, chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla) and moon phase) on these populations, analysing several landing time series spanning the last 45 years. Our results revealed that Mediterranean cuttlefish populations exhibit strong seasonal variations owing to a reproductive migration towards coastal waters. The positive relationships between somatic and reproductive condition pointed to an income breeder strategy; this was reinforced by the percentage of empty stomachs, which was lowest just before the reproductive period peak. Despite the putative high sensitivity of cephalopod populations to external abiotic factors, our results showed that Mediterranean cuttlefish populations were not affected by most of the environmental parameters investigated. Significant effects were found for SST and a local climatic index, but no or very weak influences were evident for other parameters such as large-scale climatic phenomena (e.g. North Atlantic Oscillation, Mediterranean Oscillation) or other locally-related variables (e.g. rainfall, Chla). Our results revealed a shift in the cuttlefish population dynamics in the early 1980s, which could be related to important changes in the local hydroclimatology reported by previous authors.
Foraging Habitat of Sepia officinalis at STARESO Research Station in Calvi, Corsica, France
Colin Gaylord and Tyler Hubbell 2014 (docx)

The goal of our observational field study was to discover if the cryptic species Sepia officinalis displays a habitat association while foraging at night. We predicted that S. officinalis would show a strong preference for cobble and boulders covered in turfy algae in the coves in and around STARESO research station. To test our hypothesis, we compared the available habitat to where we located Sepia officinalis during night sampling. Our study found that Sepia does show an association to at least the turfy algae. This association is potentially due to Sepia officinalis’s mimetic abilities that may enhance its foraging abilities and reduce the risk of predation.
Behavioural indicators of welfare exhibited by the common European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)
Gavan M. Cooke* and Belinda M. Tonkins 2015 (pdf)

Abstract The common European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is frequently found in public aquaria in Europe. These remarkable creatures make fantastic display animals due to their rapid colour/texture/behaviour changes associated with feeding or camouflage. They possess extremely fragile bodies and soft tissues, adaptations thought to have evolved to evade predators, and in captivity cuttlefish can damage easily when startled or fleeing perceived threats and these injuries rarely heal, can cause permanent damage and even death. Knowing the signals which typically occur before damaging behaviours can reduce such incidents and therefore dramatically improve their welfare. Another aspect of captive animal welfare is providing suitable enrichment. Cuttlefish are adept at revealing how they feel about their present circumstances through deimatic displays, threat signals and defensive behaviours. Here, based on approximately two thousand hours of observations a very detailed welfare-focused behaviour table, a table summarising tank requirements/enrichment in cephalopods and an example care sheet derived from the observations are presented. This paper provides the resources to determine and prevent behaviours likely to precede damaging behaviours. Collating behaviours and sharing them with aquarists can be a valuable tool in preventing injuries and assessing wellbeing in captive animals.

Additional article and discussion here

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