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Sepioteuthis sepioidea (Blainville 1823)

Carribean Reef Squid

Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young
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Containing group: Sepioteuthis


Type species of the genus Sepioteuthis. 

Size to 20 cm ML.


  1. Mantle
    1. Mantle broad, relatively stout, tapered to a blunt posterior end, widest at anterior opening.
  2. Fins
    1. Fins occupy nearly entire length of mantle (90% in adults, 75% in juveniles).
    2. Shape elliptical to weakly rhomboidal.
    3. Width about 65% ML.
  3. Buccal crown
    1. Buccal lappets without suckers.
  4. Arms
    1. Left ventral arm hectocotylized; modified portion occupies distal fourth of arm length and is characterized by sudden reduction in size of one or 2 pairs of suckers, the complete absence of suckers in both series from the remaining distal portion of the arm, and the increase in size of the pedicels into large, fleshy papillae.


Color: quite varied in life from translucent with irredescent sheen, through greenish brown to deep reddish brown, depending on location and situation; may show “eye-spots”, bands, or stripes on mantle, these sometimes outlined in white.


Habitat and Biology

A truly tropical species that is limited in distribution by the distribution of coral reefs, primarily, and grass flats (Thalassia testudinum). It occurs at depths of 0 to 20 m, mostly 3 to 7 m. As shallow coral reefs are absent from most of the Gulf of Mexico, S. sepioidea also appears to be excluded from the Gulf. 

Occurs in schools of 4 to 50 individuals of about equal size that cruise around the reefs or about the reef flats, or grass beds behind the reefs.

Specimens are mature at about 9 cm mantle length (hectocotylus visible on males at 3 cm mantle length). Eggs are very yolky and large, about 5 to 6 mm long; only 3 to 4 eggs are laid in each large, gelatinous capsule, several of which are attached together at their bases; these small clusters are laid under rocks or in conch shells (Strombus gigas); breeding apparently occurs year-round.

Feeds on fishes and shrimps.

Geographic Distribution

Tropical western Atlantic from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Bermuda and the Bahama Islands, Florida Keys, Carribean Islands, Campeche, Yucatan to Venezuela.

Other Names for Sepioteuthis sepioidea (Blainville 1823)

Title Illustrations
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Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Scientific Name Sepioteuthis sepioidea
Acknowledgements Vecchione, M. 2003. Cephalopoda. FAO Guide for Identification of Invertebrates of the western Central Atlantic. 1:150-244.
Scientific Name Sepioteuthis sepioidea
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
View Anterodorsal
Copyright © Roger Hanlon
About This Page

National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D. C. , USA

University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Michael Vecchione at

Page: Tree of Life Sepioteuthis sepioidea (Blainville 1823). Carribean Reef Squid. Authored by Michael Vecchione and Richard E. Young. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Vecchione, Michael and Richard E. Young. 2010. Sepioteuthis sepioidea (Blainville 1823). Carribean Reef Squid. Version 02 September 2010 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Sepioteuthis_sepioidea/19902/2010.09.02 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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