Help save the cuttlefish

By AG STAFF 6 May 2014
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These mysterious creatures have suffered huge declines in South Australia. Here’s how you can help.


The number of giant cuttlefish that descend on South Australia’s Spencer Gulf to breed en masse is in worrying decline – the most recent estimate clocked a 93 per cent decrease. Donate in store or through our website to help us support the work of scientists investigating this mysterious disappearance.

 -Giant Australian cuttlefish have blue blood, three hearts and a donut-shaped brain.

-The males can reach 1m in length and weigh up to 16kg; that’s about the size of a small dog.

-They can change colour, shape and texture to imitate things around them, such as rocks, sand or seaweed.

In the late 1990s numbers of the world’s largest cuttlefish were first noticed gathering in their tens of thousands in a remote part of the gulf – the only place in the world where this is known to have occurred. In 1999 there were an estimated 183,000, and their spectacular fights and breeding strategies captivated documentary makers, who came from all over the world to film these unusual creatures. In 2013, however, estimates suggested there were only 13,500 cuttlefish at the breeding grounds, and it’s thought that the steepest decline took place over the last 3-4 years.

The reasons for the disappearance are largely unknown, and the theories range from a natural population boom-and-bust to industrial impacts. Your donation will go to helping the research that is already underway trying to figure out why this world-famous group is disappearing. For more information see our feature on page 90 of Australian Geographic issue 120.