On the respiratory flow in the cuttlefish sepia officinalis

Q. Bone, E. Brown, G. Travers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The respiratory flow of water over the gills of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis at rest is produced by the alternate activity of the radial muscles of the mantle and the musculature of the collar flaps; mantle circular muscle fibres are not involved. Inspiration takes place as the radial fibres contract, thinning the mantle and expanding the mantle cavity. The rise in mantle cavity pressure (up to 0.15 kPa), expelling water via the siphon during expiration, is brought about by inward movement of the collar flaps and (probably) mainly by elastic recoil of the mantle connective tissue network 'wound up' by radial fibre contraction during inspiration. Sepia also shows a second respiratory pattern, in which mantle cavity pressures during expiration are greater (up to 0.25 kPa). Here, the mantle circular fibres are involved, as they are during the large pressure transients (up to 10 kPa) seen during escape jetting. Active contraction of the muscles of the collar flaps is seen in all three patterns of expulsion of water from the mantle cavity, electrical activity increasing with increasing mantle cavity pressures. Respiratory expiration in the resting squid Loligo vulgaris is probably driven as in Sepia, whereas in the resting octopus Eledone cirrhosa, the mantle circular musculature is active during expiration. The significance of these observations is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1994


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