Weight-Length Relationships and Relative Growth of the Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis): Causes and Effects of Hypoallometry

  • Paulo Vasconcelos
  • Fábio Pereira
  • André N. Carvalho
  • Miguel B. Gaspar


The present study reports the weight-length (W-L) relationships and assesses the relative growth of the common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) from the Algarve coast (southern Portugal). Overall, were sampled and analysed 5883 individuals with broad ranges in both mantle length and total weight, with females being significantly larger and heavier than males. In males, females and sexes combined, the W-L relationships were highly significant and the morphometric parameters were highly correlated. Regarding relative growth, males, females and sexes combined displayed negative allometries, reflecting a slower growth rate in total weight than in mantle length during the species ontogeny, being the hypoallometric growth less intense in females than in males. An extensive compilation of analogous data reported throughout the distributional range of S. officinalis (Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea) further confirmed that negative allometries (weaker in females than in males) between specimen size and total weight are a typical feature in this species. The main factors responsible for this hypoallometric growth are analysed and their implications are discussed in terms of the species functional morphology and behavioural ecology.


Cephalopoda Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis Weight-length relationships Relative growth Hypoallometry 



The authors would like to acknowledge the crew of the small-scale fishing vessel “Imperador da Lota” that performed the fishing surveys using cuttlefish traps. The author Paulo Vasconcelos was funded by a post-doctoral grant (SFRH/BPD/26348/2006) awarded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT - Portugal). Thanks are also due to two anonymous reviewers that provided helpful comments and suggestions for improving the revised version of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA)OlhãoPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM), Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Ciências do Mar (CCMAR)FaroPortugal

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