Fun Dwarf Cuttlefish Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 31, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Dwarf cuttlefish facts are interesting to read.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.7 Min

Are you fascinated by cephalopods, like the mimic octopus? Then here we have all the information on the dwarf cuttlefish species (Sepia bandensis). This species of cuttlefish is pretty small in size. They have eight arms, two feeding tentacles and can change the color and patterns of their bodies at will according to their mood. This helps them camouflage when hunting for food or escaping from predators. These cephalopods are extremely clever animals. They adapt their body color to mix with their prey to catch them and during mating. They mainly eat shrimps, like the Mysis shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans, and more. This cuttlefish's habitat is coral reefs and shallow waters that have an abundance of sand. They are fascinating animals that are kept as pets all around the world. They don't live very long, so many people also breed them at home, and this makes the exact population of these cuttlefish hard to calculate.

Read on to learn more about the dwarf cuttlefish. For more relatable content, check out these mimic octopus facts and flamboyant cuttlefish facts for kids.

Dwarf Cuttlefish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dwarf cuttlefish?

The dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) is a marine species of cuttlefish.

What class of animal does a dwarf cuttlefish belong to?

The dwarf cuttlefish belongs to the class Cephalopoda.

How many dwarf cuttlefish are there in the world?

The population of dwarf cuttlefish in exact numbers is not known. Other than living in the wild, these cuttlefish are also popular as pets in many parts of the world. That's why they are popular in the pet trade market, where there might even be illegal trades. Hence, it's hard to keep track of the population of these cuttlefish.

Where does a dwarf cuttlefish live?

In the wild, dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) are found in the waters of the Indo-Pacific range. They can be seen near the coasts of Alas Strait, Borneo, Sulawesi, Philippines, Java, and New Guinea in the waters of the Banda Sea, Celebes Sea, Arafura Sea, Flores Sea, and the Sulu Sea. A number of them have also been seen near the northeast range of the Marshall Islands and the northern range of Australia.

What is a dwarf cuttlefish's habitat?

Dwarf cuttlefish are demersal fish. Demersal fish are ones that live on the ground. Dwarf cuttlefish are found in shallow waters, mainly in waters with an abundance of sand and coral reefs. Many also live in households as pets around the world.

Who do dwarf cuttlefish live with?

In nature, dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) are found living with sea stars and sea cucumbers. If you keep them in tanks, we recommend not to keep them with other fish. In most cases, they will end up eating each other. The best tank mate for them is harmless corals.

How long does a dwarf cuttlefish live?

This cephalopod doesn't live very long. They live for only about a year or so.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the dwarf cuttlefish is not known. The female and the male cuttlefish of the species mature sexually when they are around five months old. They are known to be gonochoric, which means that individual sex is genetically determined and does not change throughout their lifetime. As the breeding time arrives, males will display a number of courtship rituals to attract a mate. If the display is successful, the copulation can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. The gestation period of these cuttlefish is known to be around a month. After that, the female lays about 8-40 eggs. These eggs are laid attached to various things on the ground, and each cuttlefish egg is laid one at a time. As time goes on, the eggs grow in size and become transparent from their previously purplish to black color. The hatchlings are known to grow up at a fast pace.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the dwarf cuttlefish, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN in their Red List, is listed as Data Deficient. Not enough data can be gathered due to these cuttlefish being popular in the aquarium trade. In the wild, they don't have many predators or threats of other nature. Hence, we can at least be glad about the fact that they are not endangered in any way.

Dwarf Cuttlefish Fun Facts

What do dwarf cuttlefish look like?

Pharaoh cuttlefish

*Please note that this is an image of a Pharaoh cuttlefish, not a Dwarf cuttlefish specifically. If you have an image of a Dwarf cuttlefish, then please let us know at

Dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) are small in size. They have a ring-shaped brain, eight arms, and two feeding tentacles. These feeding tentacles bear tentacular clubs at the end. They also have three hearts, an ink sac, and blue-colored copper-based blood. They are known to have 360-degree vision, but they are color blind. They have fins and a cuttlebone to help with swimming and beak-like jaws. They are greenish-yellow brown to light brown in color with mottled patterns of white. On the rear of their mantle, a pattern of a couple of brown patches can be seen. They have color-changing abilities where they can even change the color pattern of their bodies according to their mood. This helps them camouflage. The special feature of these cuttlefish is their large eyes with W-shaped pupils, vertical lines on their bodies, and a line of luminescent blue spots at the base of their fins.

How cute are they?

Not many people will find these cephalopods cute or adorable. The unique shape of the animals gives them the look of a small octopus. However, some people do find them charming; that's why they are kept as pets. They are also not aggressive in any way to humans.

How do they communicate?

Cephalopods, in general, mostly communicate by their color-changing abilities. This helps them express aggression, danger, sexual willingness, and more. They also squirt ink to ward off predators.

How big is a dwarf cuttlefish?

Dwarf cuttlefish grow up to about 4 in (10.2 cm) in size. They grow at a fast pace. A baby cuttlefish is less than 0.2 in (0.5 cm) in size but grows up to 1 in (2.5 cm) in two months and reaches full mature size within six months. They are about six times smaller than octopuses, who are about 24 in (61 cm) in size.

How fast can a dwarf cuttlefish swim?

This cephalopod doesn't swim much. Rather, they have been seen to walk with the raised flaps of their mantle and their arms. They are known to walk at a moderate pace. They can be pretty quick when they are trying to catch their prey.

How much does a dwarf cuttlefish weigh?

An adult male dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) weighs about 1.4 oz (40 g), and a female weighs about 1.6 oz (45 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males or females of this cuttlefish species don't have sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby dwarf cuttlefish?

A baby dwarf cuttlefish is called a hatchling or a cutlet.

What do they eat?

Adults of this cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) species have excellent hunting abilities and hunt for their food in a clever way. They mainly feed on fish or crustaceans, like shrimp or crabs. Whenever a shrimp or any crabs get close, these cephalopods deceive them with the help of their color-changing abilities and then grab them with a quick reflex. It will shoot its feeding tentacles to grab its prey and take it in. Their beak-like jaws do the rest of the work pretty quickly. Hatchlings, on the other hand, can't hunt when they are young. If you're captive breeding, then you can feed them live food, like shrimp, specifically the Mysis shrimp. Try to avoid feeding them any brine shrimp as it can shorten the lifespan of the cuttlefish.

Are they dangerous?

These cephalopods are not dangerous or aggressive towards humans. Many people keep them as pets for this reason. They are predators, though, so they pose some harm to a few aquatic animals.

Would they make a good pet?

They make excellent pets. However, you need to remember a few things if you want to keep them as pets. The tank size for a single dwarf cuttlefish should be at least 30 gal (136.4 l). We suggest to up the tank size from there if you want to keep a number of them together. The water should be clean with extremely low levels of nitrate and zero levels of nitrite and ammonia. Preferably with a pH of 8.0-8.5, and a temperature of 78°F (25.6°C). 1 in (2.5 cm) of sand can be the perfect substrate for them. They don't require too many lighting conditions; rather, simple fluorescent lights will work well for them. We would suggest you keep the water flow more in the tank than less. Cleaning the tank frequently would be necessary for these cephalopods are known to scatter a lot of water after they eat food, like shrimp or crabs.

Did you know...

The way dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) die is a tragic story. They go through a phase which is known as senescence. During this, they lose their sense of coordination and lose their ability to swim, and see. Hence, they can't hunt or can't eat food even if the food is present before them. In this state, they don't live long in the wild, as they soon get hunted by predators.

At around three months of age, the male cuttlefish start to display other male cuttlefish by changing their skin color to black and white patterns, elongating their body size, and flailing their arms.

These cephalopods have the ability to disguise themselves as members of the opposite sex, which comes in handy for males of the species to attract females for mating. The males change their body color and disguise themselves as females. This helps the males pass through many places. This also impresses the females and increases the chances of mating for the males.

What's special about the dwarf cuttlefish?

The most special thing about the dwarf cuttlefish by which you can tell them apart lies in their appearance. On their backs, they have two false eyespots. They have short vertical lines on their dorsal side and have luminescent blue-colored spots on the back of their fins. Another special feature of these cuttlefish is their pupils, which are the shape of a 'W'.

How many eggs do dwarf cuttlefish lay?

This cuttlefish species start breeding at the age of five months old, and once they mate, after about a month from then, the female lays 8-40 dwarf cuttlefish eggs. She lays these eggs attaching them to various things on the ground one by one.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our goblin shark interesting facts and beluga sturgeon surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dwarf cuttlefish coloring pages.

Dwarf Cuttlefish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Shrimps, crabs, crustaceans

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

1.4-1.6 oz (40-45 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

sandy habitats and coral reefs

Where Do They Live?

indo-pacific region, marshall islands, australia

How Long Were They?

4 in (10.2 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Sepia bandensis

What Do They Look Like?

Green, yellow, brown

Skin Type

Bumpy skin

What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Data Deficient
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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