Initial stages of food ingestion by Sepia officinalis (Mollusca: Cephalopoda)



The cuttlefish ingests much skeleton from the crustaceans and fish it preys upon. The skeletal pieces are relatively large and their dimensions bear a close relationship to the length of the buccal mass and diameter of the oesophagus. The structures of the buccal mass are instrumental in the breakdown of prey and orientation of long pieces of skeleton to ensure their entry into the oesophagus. Many pieces of skeletal material present in the stomach contents still have attached muscles, showing that there is little, or no, external digestion. Skeletal material may be important for long-term maintenance of young Sepia in captivity.