Elegant cuttlefish (Sepia elegans)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Body elongate-oval, with a maximum mantle length of 9 cm. The arms bear only two rows of suckers and the cuttlebone sharply tapers to the posterior. Commonly red to brown on dorsal surface.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found mainly on southern and western coasts of Britain.

Global distribution

Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea including the Adriatic Sea, West Africa and Aghulhas Bank.


Found on sandy and muddy substrata, offshore, uncommon in coastal waters.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Mantle elongate, oval and more than two times longer than wide.
  • Tentacular club short, broad and blunt distally.
  • 6-8 suckers in oblique, transverse rows.
  • Red to brown on dorsal surface.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -


  1. Campbell, A., 1994. Seashores and shallow seas of Britain and Europe. London: Hamlyn.

  2. Guerra, A. & Castro, B.G., 1989. Some aspects of the biology of Sepia elegans (Cephalopoda, Sepioidea) from the ria de Vigo, NW Spain. Vie et Milieu, 39, 213-218.

  3. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. Miramand, P. & Bentley, D., 1992. Concentration and distribution of heavy metals in tissues of two cephalopods, Eledone cirrhosa and Sepia officinalis, from the French coast of the English Channel. Marine Biology, 114, 407-414.

  6. Roper, C.F.E., Sweeney, M.J. & Nauen, C.E., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 3. Cephalopods of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries. FAO Fisheries Synopsis, 125, 3, 277. Avaliable: http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/ac479e/ac479e00.htm


  1. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) data for Great Britain and Ireland - restricted access. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/4bsawx accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) records for Great Britain and Ireland. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/aurwcz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  4. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-12


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2007. Sepia elegans Elegant cuttlefish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 12-06-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1079

Last Updated: 21/08/2007