Monday, March 6, 2017

Cuttlefish 'bone'

This cuttlefish 'bone' - the internal shell of this common cephalopod - was washed up on Blast beach at Dawdon on the Durham coast today.

When I was a kid living in Sussex I often saw these lovely animals swimming at East Head, in a warm sandy bay in Chichester harbour where I went sailing, and I frequently found their 'bones' on the shore. We used to collect them for our pet budgerigar, as a calcium-rich dietary supplement. 

I haven't seen cuttlefish 'bones'  very often here on the North East coast.

The first thing that strikes you when you pick these objects up is how light they are. They function as buoyancy aids and are full of tiny air chambers. You can find some wonderful images of their microscopic internal structure on this Wikipedia site - click here.

Cuttlefish illustration from Shell Life by Edward Step (1901).Frederick Warne & Co.

Visit the ARKive web site - here - for more information about these animals and for some lovely movie clips


  1. I've never seen cuttlefish live but have often found their 'bones' - which don't help one imagine the kind of creatures they are. I live near Chesil Cove in Dorset where there's a team of people who do underwater filming - and that includes videos of cuttlefish. They really are weird - capable of swimming forward and backwards! I'll put a link here to one of the videos including cuttlefish in case you are interested. I was looking for a different one which has more of them - but couldn't find it. Perhaps that's not too bad because you get to see some other under-water beings we land-creatures don't often notice too.

    1. Thanks Lucy, that's wonderful! I used to see them quite often in a sandy bay in Chichester harbour, when I was a child. Amazingly well camouflaged animals that can change their colours to match their surroundings.


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