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Cuttlefish Habitat

Cuttlefish are active predators that feed on small fish, crabs, prawns and other cephalopods in the shallow coastal waters.

cuttlefish eating a fishThey hunt by changing their body patterns and making swaying movements to distract their prey. They then shoot out two elongated, specialised feeding tentacles and catch the prey between the sticky suction caps. These tentacles rest in pouches beneath their eyes.

Both of the tentacles are fluid-filled and rapid muscle contraction forces the fluid along the tentacles making them shoot out. These tentacles pull the food into the other tentacles and the cuttlefish uses its beak and radula (rasping tongue) to break the prey up into small pieces.

Cuttlefish are preyed upon by seabirds, dolphins, sharks, rays and a variety of fish. Dolphins bite the head and tentacles off cuttlefish and leave the bodies to float on the water's surface for scavenging seabirds.

cuttlefish swimming   cuttlefish swimming

Cephalopods are found in all the oceans of the world, from warm, tropical waters to freezing, polar waters. They are found in the wave-swept intertidal zone through to the cold, dark abyss. Cuttlefish however, are usually found in temperate and tropical waters. They prefer shallow coastal waters but are also found in open oceans. During Winter, the cuttlefish gather in numbers on the shallow near-shore reefs to mate and spawn.

Some species of cuttlefish swim around in schools, like other fish whereas others are more solitary and guard their own territory. The giant cuttlefish is found only in the waters off southern Australia. They inhabit reef and seagrass areas from Point Cloates in Western Australia, along the southern coast and up to New South Wales.

Web-site last revised (June 2006) Copyright