Sepia elegans 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Mollusca Cephalopoda Sepioloida Sepiidae

Scientific Name: Sepia elegans Blainville, 1827
Common Name(s):
English Elegant Cuttlefish
French Seiche élégante
Spanish Castaño, Sepia elegante
Sepia biserialis Blainville, 1827
Sepia italica Risso, 1854
Sepia rupellaria Férussac & d'Orbigny 1834-1848
Taxonomic Notes: Misidentifications with Sepia bertheloti d'Orbigny, 1835 (Reid et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2009-03-13
Assessor(s): Barratt, I. & Allcock, L.
Reviewer(s): Reid, A., Rogers, Alex & Bohm, M.
Contributor(s): Bello, G., Herdson, R. & Duncan, C.
Sepia elegans has been assessed as Data Deficient as although it has a very wide geographic distribution in the western Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, it is taken as bycatch throughout most of its range and fishing pressure is severe in certain regions (e.g. Sicilian Channel). Such fishing is unlikely to pose a threat to the species as a whole but separate statistics are not reported for this species and stock assessments have not been conducted so it is not possible to determine the impact of this fishing activity currently.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a very wide geographic distribution ranging from Scotland, Ireland and the English Channel in the north and south along the west coast of Africa to Endeavour Bank (Reid et al. 2005). Its range encompasses the Mediterranean including the Ligurian Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Aegean Sea, Sea of Marmara and Levantine Sea (Reid et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola); Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt (Egypt (African part), Sinai); Equatorial Guinea (Equatorial Guinea (mainland)); France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland), Kriti); Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Ireland; Israel; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Mauritania; Montenegro; Morocco; Nigeria; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Senegal; Sierra Leone; Slovenia; Spain (Baleares, Canary Is., Spain (mainland), Spanish North African Territories); Syrian Arab Republic; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland); Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size of this species is unknown. Although this species is subject to fishing pressure (which is extremely intense in some locations) separate statistics are not reported for this species hence these cannot be used to deduce fluctuations in population density.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species has a wide geographic and depth distribution (to 500 m), although rarely below 450 m (Reid et al. 2005). It is most abundant at 150 m (Reid et al. 2005). The elegant cuttlefish rarely buries in the sand and feeds on a wide variety of prey including crustaceans, molluscs, polychaetes and fish (Reid et al. 2005). Sexual dimorphism is observed with females being heavier than males for a given length, and have longer tentacular clubs (Reid et al. 2005). This species can tolerate brackish waters (Reid et al. 2005). During winter this species migrates downslope to deep water and in summer moves upslope into shallow water to spawn (Norman 2003, Reid et al. 2005). Individuals mature in 12 to 18 months (Reid et al. 2005). In the Mediterranean Sea spawning occurs throughout the year and off Portugal mature individuals occur throughout the year (Reid et al. 2005). Similarly, along the west African coast the spawning season is extended with peaks in both summer and autumn (Reid et al. 2005). Mature males have approximately 95 spermatophores and females have approximately 250 eggs (Reid et al. 2005). The eggs are spawned in small clusters onto a variety of substrates on muddy substrates including sea fans, shells and rocks (Reid et al. 2005).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is caught as bycatch sometimes in high abundance in parts of its geographic range (Reid et al. 2005). It is an important species in local markets around the Mediterranean Sea (Reid et al. 2005). In the Sicilian Channel it is fished intensively (Reid et al. 2005). It is taken as bycatch in the south-western Adriatic multi-species trawl fishery (Bello 2003) together with S. orbignyana. Bello (2003) reported that catch per unit effort of these Sepia was dramatically reduced between 1984 and 1999 and few, if any, specimens were caught in a day's fishing in 2003, a phenomenon that he attributed to overfishing.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ocean acidification caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is potentially a threat to all cuttlefish. Studies have shown that under high pCO2 concentrations, cuttlefishes actually lay down a denser cuttlebone which is likely to negatively affect buoyancy regulation (Gutowska et al. 2010). This species is caught as bycatch, sometimes in significant numbers, in the Mediterranean Sea and along the West Africa coast (Reid et al. 2005). In markets around the Mediterranean Sea it forms an important local resource (Reid et al. 2005). It is subject to intense fishing pressure in the Sicilian Channel (Reid et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Further research is required regarding population trends, distribution, life history traits and the impacts of harvesting and threats.

Citation: Barratt, I. & Allcock, L. 2012. Sepia elegans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T162579A920760. . Downloaded on 19 October 2017.
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