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Phylum Mollusca > Class Cephalopoda > squids and cuttlefishes > Family Loliginidae
Bigfin reef squid
Sepioteuthis lessoniana
Family Loliginidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? These squids are sometimes seen in numbers on our Southern shores. Among seagrasses, also near coral rubble and reefs. It is often seen with its arms held splayed out when alarmed. It typically gathers near the bottom during the day, dispersing in the water at night to hunt. Many are attracted to light. Elsewhere, it is found to 100m deep.

Features: Mostly 8-12cm long, but may grow to 40cm and weigh 2kgs. Body rather squat with wide fins that extend along the entire body length, thus it is sometimes mistaken for a cuttlefish. The fins oval or somewhat pear-shaped with the widest part near the rear end of the body. Arms about half the length of the body, rather broad.

What does it eat? According to FAO, it eats mainly prawns and fishes, occasionally on stomatopods and crabs and cannibalism is not very common. According to Norman, Bigfin reef squids of similar size often school together to safety from cannibalism by larger Bigfin reef squids.

Baby bigfins: During breeding, males and females perform elaborate courtship displays. Females lay lumpy sausage-like egg capsules in clusters attached to hard surfaces.
Each sausage contains about 13 eggs in a row.

Human uses: It is an important seafood item sold fresh or dried and harvested in a wide range of ways from trawling, nets, spears and even traps (which they enter to spawn, attracted by the clusters of eggs placed in the traps by the fishermen).

Pulau Semakau, Sep 05

Tanah Merah, Jun 12

This one was about 30cm long!

Tanah Merah, Jun 09

Ink squirted out retains its shape.
Sister Island, May 12

Which is ink and which is squid?
Tanah Merah, Jun 11

Bigfin reef squids on Singapore shores

Photos of Bigfin reef squids for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Chek Jawa, Jul 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Labrador, Sep 09
Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

St John's Island, May 14
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Pulau Hantu, Feb 08
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her flickr.

Pulau Semakau East, Jan 16
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Terumbu Bemban, Jun 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Bemban, Apr 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Apr 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Raya, Jul 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

squids @ Terumbu Semakau 23Mar2011 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

Grateful thanks to Tay Ywee Chieh for identifying this cuttlefish.

  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Norman, Mark and Helmut Debelius, 2000. Cephalopods: A World Guide. ConchBooks, Germany. 319 pp.
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