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Sepioloidea lineolata (Family Sepiadariidae)

Striped Pyjama Squid

Distribution:

Eastern Australia (from southern Great Barrier Reef to southern New South Wales), central South Australia, and southern Western Australia (QLD, NSW, SA, WA).

Features:

A small rounded squid that reaches around 7 cm long. It has two long kidney-shaped fins on the sides of the body. There are eight arms and two retractable feeding tentacles. The arms and the tips of the feeding tentacles have small suckers, each with a toothed horny rim. The upper edge of the opening to the gills is fringed with numerous fingers of skin. The underside of the head and body is covered in numerous small glands that secrete slime (mucous). There is no shell. This squid is easily recognised by the regular narrow black stripes over a white background. It can also change the background colour to dark purple-brown. The upper half of the eye is yellow.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Striped Pyjama Squid lives on sand and mud habitats in shallow coastal waters. It buries in the sand during the day, emerging at night to hunt for small shrimp and fish. This squid spends most of its time on the seafloor, only swimming in short hops. The dramatic colour pattern of this squid is probably advertising a poisonous nature. When attacked this squid produces slime from the glands under the body. One individual was observed out during the day. As a cuttlefish approached, the pyjama squid stretched out all arms and displayed the black and white colour patterns, quickly scaring off the potential predator.

The function of the fingers of skin over the gill cavity opening is unknown. They may help stop sand grains falling into the gill cavity when the animal is buried or they may have a chemosensory function.

Mating consists of males grabbing any passing female. They mate face-to-face and the male places sperm packets in a pouch below the female's mouth. If she has already mated, he uses a special lower arm to scoop out the previous male's sperm. Females lay eggs under crevices or shells. The eggs are round and white and are laid in clumps. The young hatch already wearing the characteristic colour pattern of black stripes on white.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

There is no commercial or recreational harvest of this small squid.

Further Reading:

Norman, M.D. 2000. Cephalopods: A world guide. ConchBooks, Hackenheim, Germany.

Acknowledgments:

Text, map & photographs by Mark Norman, Museum Victoria.

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