New Species Arrives in the
Aquatic & Reptile Center
Cuttlefish are actually cephalopods, like octopus and squid.
Posted November 2020
We’re pleased to welcome a new species to the Zoo’s collection: two new cuttlefish in the Aquatic & Reptile Center. The two cuttlefish are displayed in the former Jellyfish habitat. Because the two have formed a group, they aren’t likely to accept other cuttlefish, so they’ll live out their lives together. Average lifespan for this species is 1-2 years.
Despite their name, they aren’t fish, but rather cephalopods, like squid or octopus. These aquatic invertebrates showcase well in the exhibit designed primarily for jellyfish.
- These cuttlefish are only a few months old, and arrived from a facility on Brooklyn, NY.
- Like octopus, cuttlefish are extremely intelligent.
- These are the largest species of cuttlefish, with their mantles (does not include their head and arms) reaching upward of 45 centimeters.
- They have eight arms located around the mouth and are used to hold and move prey. Two tentacles are designed to quickly capture prey.
- Specialized skin cells and skin organs give them the ability to not only change their color, but also the texture and appearance of their skin. All of this occurs despite being color blind.
- Cuttlefish have many defensive mechanisms to help protect them from predators, including a siphon which is used to expel water, propelling them away from danger. They’re also equipped with ink to distract and disorient a predator as the cuttlefish escapes. Their camouflage abilities can help them avoid predators entirely.
- Cuttlefish eat krill, shrimp and pieces of clam and fish.
- In the wild, cuttlefish are native to the Mediterranean Sea, North Sea and Baltic Sea. Some subspecies have also been found as far south as South Africa.
The next time you’re at the Zoo, bet sure to visit the Aquatic & Reptile Center to see the unusual and interesting cuttlefish!