Behavioural indicators of welfare exhibited by the common European cuttlefish

The common European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is frequently found in public aquaria in Europe.

Knowing  the  signals  which  typically  occur  before  damaging  behaviours  can  reduce such incidents and therefore dramatically improve their welfare. Cuttlefish are adept at revealing how they feel about their present circumstances through deimatic displays, threat signals and defensive behaviours.

We created a very detailed welfare-focused behaviour table, a table summarising tank requirements/enrichment in cephalopods and an example care sheet derived from the observations are presented. This paper provides the resources to determine and prevent behaviours likely to precede damaging behaviours. Collating behaviours and sharing them with aquarists can be a valuable tool in preventing injuries and assessing wellbeing in captive animals.


Authors: Gavan M. Cooke and Belinda M. Tonkins.

Journal Article: