The Marine Life Information Network

Information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles


Common bobtail (Sepietta oweniana)

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



A small cuttlefish between 35-50 cm in length, with an ovoid body shape. The dorsal pair of arms between the eyes are linked by a membrane. The fins are short and oval.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found on all British and Irish coasts

Global distribution

Northeast Atlantic; Norway (northern limit undetermined) to Morocco and the Mediterranean Sea.


Found over muddy bottoms

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Mantle blunt and bullet-shaped.
  • Fins with a slight lateral angle and pronounced anterior lobes.
  • Tentacular clubs with about 32 very minute, subequal suckers in transverse rows.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -


  1. Bergstrom, Bo I., 1985. Aspects of natural foraging by Sepietta oweniana (Mollusca, Cephalopoda). Ophelia, 24, 65-74.

  2. Boyle, P.R. (ed.), 1983. Cephalopod Life Cycles, vol 1. Species Accounts. London: Academic Press Inc. (London) Ltd.

  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:


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

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2023-03-23


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2006. Sepietta oweniana Common bobtail. 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 23-03-2023]. Available from:

Last Updated: 06/11/2006