Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) are relatives of squid and octopuses. They are predators, living out in water up to 200metres deep but coming into shallow, weedy waters to breed. When they die, the large chalky internal shell, known as 'cuttle bones' often wash up on the beach.
They can flash different colours and pattersn to distract predators or attract mates.
How to Identify
Cuttle bones are white and chalky, oval shaped with thin harder 'wings' at one end. Cuttlefish are thick-set squid that grow up to 30cm long, often with brownish tiger stripes.
Found around the coasts of England and Wales.
A recommended reference book for further information is the 'Great British Marine Animals' by Paul Naylor. (www.marinephoto.co.uk)