Recent weather brings in cuttlefish shells across North Wales western coasts

Cluster of cuttlefish shells - North Wales Wildlife Trust

Large numbers of cuttlefish shells washed up after recent stormy weather.

We’ve been finding and hearing reports of large numbers of cuttleshells and whelk eggs along our shores after the recent windy weather. Both these findings could be signs of breeding. However, since this year’s winter was a relatively cold one it could be that the second reason for this influx on our shores is the mostly likely - cuttlefish can find it difficult to survive cold sea temperatures.

All of our cuttlefish species have what’s called a Mediterranean distribution and so like warmer waters. In Wales we have 3 species (the common, the elegant and the pink cuttlefish) all show a UK distribution which covers South and West areas, but are seen less in the East and further North.  

Cuttlefish are grouped with octopus and squid and their life length belies their level of intelligence. They’re alien to us in lots of ways (e.g. colour changes, including moving patterns; ink release for defence; tentacles to feed), but perhaps the most unusual thing about them is their genetics. A few years back researchers found they use their RNA instead of just their DNA to adapt!!