Cuttlefish Research Study

URG has been invited to help collecting cuttlefish eggs by Dr Anne-Laurence Bibost from Sydney University to help with her cuttlefish prenatal stress research. Australia is vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification and global warming projected for the future decades. Consequently, the main interest of the research is to examine the effects of environmental change on the development of cuttlefish embryos and on the cognitive abilities of the juveniles.

Nobody has previously done some work on cuttlefish eggs around NSW and from past experience there have been some difficulties in finding the eggs, thus URG’s assistance collecting cuttlefish eggs would be gratefully appreciated. Please contact us if you wish to help with this project.


Important Fisheries needs 72 hours notice with a plan submission. So all collections should be run through the coordinator.

Any collection done within Sydney Harbour (including Clifton Gardens) must be done more than 10 metres from the mean low water mark as it is an Intertidal Protected Area.

What species?

Sepia apama eggs are bigger than the eggs from S. plangon and S. mestus. Cuttlefish eggs look like upside down teardrops with a tapered tip as opposed to squid eggs which are more elongated and round tipped.

When to collect?

  • Sepia apama – from May to September
  • Sepia plangon – mid August to mid December.
  • Sepia mestus   – unknown, likely similar to sepia plangon

“We possess the permit of collecting eggs” but NOT in protected area. See

Anecdotally, eggs are found in shaded areas e.g. under jetties and overhangs.

Collect the eggs one by one in a sandwich bag filled of seawater (net might damaged them with the pressure of the water). If the eggs are too fragile, use a knife to scratch the surface of the support. If the eggs are laid on a small plastic garbage or an algae, leave the eggs on the support and just bring the small plastic support or cut the algae. If you have a camera please take a photo of the eggs before removal and your dive computer (as per Weedy Seadragon identification).

Eggs can come in cluster which can come from different females. If the eggs are clustered please ensure that the eggs from different clusters don’t get mixed up in the bags. They should be clearly identifiable as separate.

Soon as you are out of the water, call Will Figueira (0403235992) or Dr Anne-Laurence (0416876043), so they can come straight away to aliment the eggs in oxygen. The URG coordinator Malte Marquarding (0421805164) can also be contacted.

How many?
Eggs come in clusters of 30-50. It would be best to collect as many as you can, knowing that researchers would preferably need 15 to 30 eggs per treatment. 30 is a good number in behavioural studies. Will and Anne-Laurence will give most of our live juveniles to Sydney and Manly aquariums.

Please also report locations where members of the genus sepia have been spotted. Dead or dying females are an indication that eggs are nearby as they usually get weak and die about a week after laying eggs. A spreadsheet is available fro members to report sightings.

View Dr Bibost’s presentation of the project