27 August 2012

Sepiola atlantica: cute cuttlefish

  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

Two weeks ago we went to dive at Scharendijke, a divespot in the Grevelingenmeer. Unfortunately the place was crowded with divers. That means a lot of disturbance of the bottom, resulting in cloudy water. So we went to 't Koepeltje (also in the Grevelingenmeer, one of the divespots in the province of Zeeland with rather clear water.

For the first hour I saw a lot of fish (gunnels, two-spotted gobies) and crabs (edible crabs, arch-fronted swimming crabs, common lobsters etc.). Nice but nothing new. Till I saw a strange patch in the sand.

  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

That appeared to be the Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis).

  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

Typically hiding in the sand with only its big eyes exposed.


  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

Now you're pissing me off: when annoyed this cuttlefish changes colour from sandy pale to brown red in less than a second.


  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

At first it looks like a juvenile of the Common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis (as I will show in a next post), but it is rather different. Its eyes are bigger, it is cup-shaped, the fins are different and it has more coloured chromatophores. They can grow up to 5 cm. This specimen was about 4 cm.


  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

It was my first encounter with this very cute cuttlefish while diving. In fact the photo's in this post are of two specimen. When the first one swam away (and I followed it cautiously) it landed exactly on a spot where another Sepiola was hiding! Sepiola 2 chased the first one away. So then I teased Sepiola 2 for a while taking photo's: it was evident that they didn't like me (ugly and big) and especially my flashlights. Sorry! And believe it or not: Sepiola 2 landed a short time later on the spot where Sepiola 1 was hiding and so now he was chased away.


  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 

The tube underneath its body is jet propulsion avant la lettre. It is a swift swimmer, but not as quick as the Common cuttlefish or Common squid (Loligo species).


  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 


  Little cuttlefish, Sepiola atlantica (NL: Dwerginktvis). 't Koepeltje, the Netherlands, 15-8-2012. 
Sepiola has landed.

1 comment:

Dalma Boros said...

Stunning photos. I would love to see video of this little guy, cuttlefish are beautiful.