Bone picking

In January 2014 on January 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm


Sarah: After approximately ten years of summers and Easters and long weekends spent at the southern end of Yorke Peninsula, I am now finally the happiest amateur naturalist alive. With my trusty A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia (thanks to redmap), I can finally identify the two species of cuttlefish ‘bones’ (actually internal shells used to aid buoyancy) that wash up on ‘our beach’ at Marion Bay.

The bone shown above  – collected on the beach this afternoon, and photographed on my coffee table – are approximately 10 cms long. On the right is the bone from a Giant Australian Cuttlefish (Sepia apama), famous for its incredible colour and textural displays and mating aggregations in the waters of South Australia (although recent data suggest numbers are declining).

The bone on the left belongs to the Knifebone Cuttlefish (Sepia cultrata), a less common and deeper water species found in waters stretching from Queensland to Western Australia.

No longer will I wander the beaches in ignorance of these chalky cuttle remnants discarded on the high tide line.

Now I can sleep at night.


  1. Interesting! I can’t say I’ve ever really thought about the type of fish that provide the cuttlefish that we collect for our birds to bite on.

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