Sepia pharaonis   Ehrenberg,  1831 (Cuttlefish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Cephalopoda

Image copyrights: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sultanate of Oman

Size: Length 173.00 mm; width 70.00 mm

Color: Depending on the substrate and the state of the cuttlefish, the color is variable

The body is ovoid in shape, stout and oval in outline and widest at the anterior end and flattened. The head is short and about as broad across the two prominent eyes as long. Body is robust with muscular mantle and fins. The latter are broad, originate from the anterior margin of the mantle opening, have a slight forward projection anteriorly and extend along the entire margin of mantle.The fins are nearly as long as the mantle and wide. The head is short and about as broad across the two prominent eyes as long. The tentacles are moderate in length, about the length of the body or slightly longer. There are 8 club suckers arranged in transverse series with 5 or 6 median ones very much enlarged. The oral arms are long, subequal in length with well developed keels and tapering ends. The dorsal arms are the shortest and the lateral ones much compressed. The left ventral arm (arm IV) is hectocotylized in males. The cuttlebone is elongate, broad and oval in shape with the surface rugose in texture and has three longitudinal faint ribs. In front, the mantle is produced middorsally into a triangular lobe and midventrally slightly emarginated; fins very wide and fleshy and originate a few millimetres behind the anterior margin of the mantle; fins broad, extend along the periphery of the mantle and reach the posterior extremity; funnel large and thick walled, reaching almost to the base of the ventral arms; a triangular valve present in the funnel. The head is a little narrower than the mantle opening; mouth surrounded by seven buccal lappets, the edges of which are beset with minute suckers; arms subequal in length and attenuated ; suckers arranged in four transverse rows on the arms and bordered by protective membranes; horny rings of the arm suckers have numerous palisaded teeth; tentacles long, thick and triangular in cross section; tentacular clubs are broad and fringed with strong swimming membrane on the right side; there are about 113 unequal suckers arranged in five to seven oblique rows; of the suckers, two rows in the middle are greatly enlarged in about seven series, the seventh and the eighth from the base are exceedingly large; horny rings of club suckers smooth. Cuttlebone is elongate and broadest at about the middle ; there are three low longitudinal ribs and broad chitinous margins on the dorsal surface ; ventral surface is concave posteriorly and convex anteriorly; there is a shallow but distinct median groove running along the entire length of the striated area ; the striae are distinctly A shaped; the inner cone of the bone forms a characteristic plate-like callosity at the posterior end; a small but thick spine is present at the posterior extremity. The dorsal surface of the mantle integument, head and arms is ornamented with conspicuous transverse stripes. The species is readily distinguished from all other = cuttlefish by the presence of these stripes on the body, enlarged suckers of the clubs, broad plate-like inner cone, A shaped striae and the distinct medium furrow on the ventral side of the cuttlebone.

Synonym (s)
Sepia singalensis Massy, 1912
Sepia pharaonis Silas, 1968
Crumenasepia hulliana Iredale, 1926
(Junior synonym)
Crumenasepia ursulae Cotton, 1929
(Junior synonym)
Sepia formosana Berry, 1912
(Junior synonym)
Sepia framea Ortmann, 1891
(Junior synonym)
Sepia koettlitzi Hoyle & Standen, 1901
(Junior synonym)
Sepia singalensis Goodrich, 1896
(Junior synonym)
Sepia tigris Sasaki, 1929
(Junior synonym)
Sepia torosa Ortmann, 1888
(Junior synonym)
Sepia venusta Pfeffer, 1884
(Junior synonym)
Sepia venustoides Hoyle, 1909
(Junior synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Pharaoh Cuttlefish (English)
• Cephalopds
• Cuttle Fish (English)
• Ottukanava
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, aquaculture, aquarium)

Habitat:  Reef Associated, Demersal, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Shrimps, crabs, fishes
Predator:  Bony fish (Otolithes cuvieri)


• Bay of Bengal (Lat: 15) (Long: 90) INDIA
• Kerala INDIA
• Red Sea
• Gulf of Oman
• Karnataka, Netrani Island (Lat: 14.03) (Long: 74.55) INDIA (Record: 05/2006) (Depth: -(10-15) mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Coast INDIA
• Orissa, Off Gopalpur INDIA
• Orissa, Gopalpur INDIA (Record: 22/09/1941)
• Arabian Sea INDIA
• Bay of Bengal INDIA
• Andaman Sea INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Rameswaram INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar, Pudumadam INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Invertebrate zoology collections Available at -
  • Jothinayagam, JT (1987) Cephalopoda of the Madras cost (Zoological Survey of India) Technical monograph no 15 The Director ZSI, Calcutta 85
  • Neethiselvam, N (2001) A new species of cuttlefish Sepia ramani sp. nov. (Class: Cephalopoda) fromTuticorin, Bay, southeast coast of India Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 30(2) 81-86 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Subba Rao, NV and Dey, A (2000) Catalogue of marine molluscs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Occasional paper no 187 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI 1-323 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Venkatraman, K; Srinivasan, M; Satyanarayana, CH and Prabhakar D (2002) Faunal diversity of Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve Conservation area series 15 ZSI 77 pp; VIII pla Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Ramakrishna; Sarkar, J and Talukdar, S (2003) Marine invertebrates of Digha coast and some recomendations on their conservation Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Kolkata 101(3-4) 1 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Voss, AN; Vecchione, M; Ronald, BT and Sweeney, JM (1998) Systematics and biogeography of cephalopods Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C 1(586) 1-276 Available at - NIO, RC, Kochi
  • Aoyama, T and Nguyen, T-t (1989) Stock assessment of cuttlefish off the coast of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Journal of Shimonoseki University of Fisheries 37 61-112 Available at - Zoological Records(yemen-marine)
  • Rocha, F; Fuentes, L; Guerra, A and Sainza, MC (1998) Cephalopods of Somalia Iberus 16 (2) 129-142 Available at - Zoological Records
  • (2004) AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation University of California at Berkeley, USA Available at -
  • Al-Abdessalaam, TZS (1995) Marine species of the Sultanate of Oman p 412 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Zacharia, PU; Krishnakumar, PK; Dineshbabu, AP; Vijayakumaran, K; Rohit, P; Thomas, S; Sasikumar, G; Kaladharan, P; Durgekar, RN and Mohamed, KS (2008) Species assemblage in the coral reef ecosystem of Netrani Island off Karnataka along the southwest coast of India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 87-97 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Rao, NVS; Rao, KVS and Maitra, S (1991) Marine molluscs State fauna series 1: Fauna of Orissa Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta Part 3 1-175 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Sealifebase Available at -
  • Samuel, VD; Chacko, D and Edward, JKP (2005) Preliminary study on the molluscan diversity of “the lost world’’– Dhanushkodi, east coast of India Proceedings of the National Seminar on Reef Ecosystem Remediation SDMRI Special Research Publication No.9 54-58 Available at -
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at -
  • Sarvesan, R (1974) Cephalopods The commercial molluscs of India Bulletin Of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 25 63-83 Available at -
  • Sundaram, KS; Sarvesan, R; Mohamed, KH and Shanbhogue, SL (1969) Catalogue of molluscs, prawns, stomatopods and marine algae in the reference collections of the central marine fisheries research institute Bulletin Of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 9 1-52 Available at -
  • Ramani, K; Ammini, PL; Srinivasan, J; Najeemudeen, SH; Beena, MR; George, KP; Seynudeen, MB; Subbaraman, G; Anandan, K; Khambadkar, LL; Augustine, SK; Pugazhendi, D; Rudhramurthy, N; Subramani, S; Seetharaman, S; Batcha, HK and Sankaralingam, S (2010) An overview of marine fisheries in India during 2007 Marine Fisheries Information Service CMFRI, Kochi 203 1-14 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Silas, EG; Sarvesan, R; Rao, KS; Nair, KP and Meiyappan, MM (1985) Identity of common species of cephalopods of India Cephalopod bionomics, fisheries and resources of the exclusive economic zone of India Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 37 13-37 Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-12-19

Back to Search