Congratulations to our eagle-eyed Marine Champion, Emma Smith, on a fantastic marine species sighting this week. Emma was out on the coast of Hayling Island and spotted this brilliant bobtail squid, also known as a little cuttlefish (Sepiola atlantica).
Despite its other name, the bobtail squid isn't a cuttlefish and lacks a cuttlebone. But they're certainly 'little', reaching only around 6 cm in length, and like cuttlefish can change colour using the chromatophores in their skin.
If you think you've spotted a bobtail squid, look out for a rounded cup-like body and bulging eyes. They usually favour pale colouring with brown and black splodges, but can have a green tint around their eyes and may change colour if disturbed. To escape predators, these squid will often change to a paler colour and release a jet of ink into the water.
Bobtail squid can be found around the UK throughout the year, but seeing one is a real treat as they spend much of their time buried in sandy seabeds waiting for their favourite prey: little crustaceans. You can see this burrowing behaviour, which leaves only the squid's eyes exposed, in the video below.
Huge thanks to Emma for sharing this great sighting with us! We're celebrating our amazing marine wildlife as part of our four-year project, Secrets of the Solent, so if you spot any interesting species we'd love to hear from you. You can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org.