Pink cuttlefish (Sepia orbignyana)

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



A fairly small cuttlefish, up to 12 cm in length, with a slender, oval body, often found sympatric with Sepia elegans, although can be distinguished from it by its fins almost reaching the anterior-most edge of the mantle, and the possession of more than 100 suckers on each tentacular club. It has relatively long arms bearing four rows of suckers. The cuttlebone is narrowly oval, with a long posterior spine. Commonly rose or orange coloured on dorsal surface.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Sepia orbigniana is a rare species reported sporadically from southern Britain.

Global distribution

Eastern Atlantic from 17 degrees south to 55 degrees north; Mediterranean Sea.


Occurs over muddy and detritus-rich continental shelf and slope areas.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Width of cuttlebone equal to one third of its length.
  • Dorsal surface rose or orange coloured with a faint median groove.
  • Fins extend full length of mantle, not uniting posteriorly.
  • Tentacular clubs with 5 suckers across the club, the median longitudinal row with 3 greatly and 2 moderately enlarged suckers. Each tentacular club possess a total of approximately 100 suckers.

Additional information

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Listed by

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

  2. 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.]

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

  5. Seaward, D.R., 1990. Distribution of marine molluscs of north west Europe. Peterborough: Nature Conservancy Council.


  1. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) records for Great Britain and Ireland. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  3. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  4. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-07-14


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2007. Sepia orbignyana Pink 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 14-07-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 21/08/2007