PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern Calamari Squid 

Sepioteuthis australis Quoy & Gaimard, 1832

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Ten circumoral appendages, eight arms and two ventrolateral tentacles. Mantle cavity with three openings to exterior. Arms and clubs at the tips of the tentacles with numerous suckers, each armed with a horny, toothed rim. Tentacles contractile but not retractile, no pockets between arms III and IV. Mantle edge near mantle cartilages with small projections or 'angles'. Fins united at posterior end of mantle. Dorsal border of mantle free (unfused) from head. Non-hectocotylised arm sucker arrangement biserial. Left ventral arm of males hectocotylised along distal one-third to one-fourth of arm where the two series of suckers are transformed into long, fleshy papillae, each with a minute sucker with smooth chitinous ring on each tip. Tentacle club with four suckers in transverse rows. Internal shell straight, feather-shaped, chitinous.
Colour patterns generally yellow-green to orange, often include three or four dark bars across the upper or lower surfaces of the body

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Mollusca
Class:
Cephalopoda
Subclass:
Coleoidea
Order:
Teuthida
Suborder:
Myopsida
Family:
Loliginidae
Genus:
Sepioteuthis
Species:
australis

General Description

Moderate to large, muscular, cylindrical, free-swimming squid. Fins extend along the entire length of body, combining to form diamond shape. Colour patterns are generally yellow-green to orange. Colour patterns often include three or four dark bars across upper or lower surfaces of body. Mantle length to 40 cm, total length to 50 cm, weight to approximately 4 kg.

Biology

This squid is common in shallow inshore waters, often in sand habitats and seagrass meadows. It is mainly active at night but can also be seen active during the day. Younger animals form small schools, with larger adults tending to be more solitary. They are fast swimmers, using both the fins and jet propulsion. They primarily feed on fish and shrimp and will regularly approach divers lights at night to catch fish attracted to the lights. Their main defences are high speed jetting and ink squirting but they are also capable of good camouflage amongst weed. Mating consists of males placing sperm packages within the gill cavity of the female. Females lay finger-like strings of white fleshy eggs amongst weed. Each string contains around six eggs, the separate egg segments becoming more obvious as the eggs mature. This squid is very popular for human consumption. It is caught as bycatch in trawl fisheries. Spawning aggregations are targeted as a small-scale fishery in Tasmania and South Australia. It is also very popular with recreational fishermen who use baitless jigs and long jig poles to fish from piers and jetties at dusk.

Habitat

Shallow inshore waters, often in sand habitats and seagrass meadows, usually to depth of 20 m, recorded to 68 m.

Seagrass meadows

Soft substrates

Reefs

Distribution guide

New Zealand and southern Australia.

Species Group

Octopuses and allies Squid

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Midwater

Max Size

50 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Potential to bite, especially if handled. Venom status unknown.

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Finn, J.K.

Dr. Julian Finn is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Norman, M.

Dr. Mark Norman is Head of Sciences at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Finn, J.K. & Norman, M., 2011, Southern Calamari Squid, Sepioteuthis australis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 25 Jul 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/4077

Text: creative commons cc by licence