Elemental Ratios in Cuttlebone Indicate Growth Rates in the Cuttlefish Sepia pharaonis

Ming Tsung Chung, Kuo Fang Huang, Chen Feng You, Chuan Chin Chiao, Chia Hui Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cuttlebone is a hard calcified structure that supports the cuttlefish body and aids in the regulation of buoyancy. The calcification rate of cuttlebone is high and is close to the growth rate of the cuttlefish mantle. The growth rate of the body mantle may strongly influence the incorporation of elements into the cuttlebone; however, the process has not been well studied. This is the first study to examine trace element incorporation into cuttlebone in detail. Controlled laboratory experiments and analyses of wild-caught cuttlefish revealed that both temperature and growth rate influence the elemental ratios of Li/Ca and Sr/Ca in cuttlebone. The variation in the elemental ratio was influenced the most by growth rates. After controlling for the minor influence of temperature, cuttlebone Li/Ca ratios appeared to be a potential proxy of cuttlefish growth. The relationship between growth rate and temperature-corrected Li/Ca ratios is positive and linear, and the trend does not vary between the sexes or across most of the life stages. In addition, the Li/Ca ratio is a promising growth rate proxy for evaluating differences among wild populations of cuttlefish, and the proxy could facilitate studies on cuttlefish biology and cuttlefish fisheries management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number796
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering

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