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Bobtail Squid video from Ireland

Can the bobtail squid in the video be described as inquisitive?

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John Ruthven

Larval Mass
Oct 19, 2013
Gloucestershire UK
A few years ago I filmed some really interesting goings on in shallow water off Dingle Bay in Ireland - the bobtail squid, Sepiola atlantica, sometimes called the little cuttle though I don't think it has a cuttle bone. This short film is of it in its real environment - you don't so often see them filmed in the wild and not in the context of the predatory world in which it has to live. It shows it hiding in the sand and ever alert to threats but also - and this is hard to judge - it seemed inquisitive as to who or what I was. You can't be sure of what is going on in an animal's head but in the four or so hours I spent with them I sensed something intelligent and unusual - am I imagining it?!! Perhaps it was just because I was lighting up food or mates that they sometimes came to camera? They certainly are making decisions about when to stay and when to flee which suggests a high level of intelligence (see the bit where one buries itself and then the bit near the end where it exits fast from the burial position realising it has been spotted perhaps). Here is the link:
- Enjoy!


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jul 9, 2009
South Florida
Awesome!!! Thanks for sharing

:welcome: to TONMO :cuttlehi:


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
As with all discussions on intelligence, we kind of have to remove that word to be able to discuss human enjoyment of our cephs or we get into semantic issues :roll: That being said, I try to eliminate food and self preservations when I anthropomorphize a behavior. IMO, this is probably more easily accomplished in an aquarium environment and with an animal that has lost much of its self preservation instincts simply because it is difficult to isolate food and fear opportunities in the wild. As an octopus keeper, I will boldly claim that most of the animals I have kept HAVE shown an apparent non-food interest in interacting with human keepers.

This is a species I would like to have the opportunity to raise and learn more about. It is one of the few squid that can be tank raised. We have had a few posts by keepers but I don't recall anyone remarking on their interest in anything but food. As an occasional vacation snorkeler/diver, I have had one instance of being examined by a group of squid (different species) that clearly were not afraid of the two monsters (I am 5'8" and Neal 6'4") swimming in the water and not likely to be investigating us as food. Sadly, this was long before I started learning about cephs and did not make the best of the opportunity to experiment (embarassingly, their attention actually made us a little nervous, oh how I would like to go back to that now!).


Staff member
May 30, 2000
awesome video! I've seen them borrow but never sweep sand on themselves OCD style quite like that :cuttle:

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