Cuttlefish are related to octopus and squid. The common cuttlefish is also known as the ink-fish.
Like octopus, cuttlefish can change both their body colour and texture in response to their environment and their survival needs.
Special cells (chromatophores) located in the outer-skin layers, contain colour pigments, which the animal can alter by neural control (merely by thinking about it!). These chromatophores typically occur in red, yellow, brown, black and blue, and each can be expanded to display a large area of colour, or contracted to a tiny speck.
Common cuttlefish are the largest cuttlefish species found in southern Africa and occur from Mozambique on the east coast to the mouth of the Orange River on the west coast.
They live in sheltered lagoons and estuaries and in the open ocean to depths of 200m.
Cuttlefish have tentacles including two longer ones that are hidden in ‘’pockets’’ under the eyes. They use the long tentacles during mating and for capturing their prey.
Cuttlebones on the beach
Most people are familiar with cuttlebones, which are found washed up on the beach and given to pet birds as a dietary supplement and to sharpen their beaks.
Cuttlefish use the cuttlebone to regulate their buoyancy.