Necropsy Procedures for the Common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)
IAAAM Archive
Joseph M. Scimeca
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN, USA


A complete necropsy along with an accurate clinical history and clinical findings are essential to a good health program. Careful observations of animals and deviations from normal behavior also are important. Animals that are culled can have useful information if a complete necropsy can be performed. Fresh killed animals are better than those specimens that have died and have stayed in a tank for several hours. The tissues collected can be evaluated for colony health status, saved for archival purposes, or used for retrospective studies. Prior to fixation the mantle cavity, gills, digestive system, organ of interest and any wounds may be cultured for bacterial, viral, or fungal analysis. Only fresh specimens are acceptable for histological analysis, as the cephalopod group decompose rapidly after death. The most common type of fixative for histological analysis is 10% buffered formalin; however, some other fixatives may be helpful depending on the area of study. A graphic description of the main anatomical organ systems of both young and adult Sepia will be presented and include the musculoskeletal system, nervous system, digestive system, and integumentary system. General anatomical structures should be known for an accurate description of the gross necropsy. Describing shape, color, texture, consistency, and firmness during the necropsy procedure will aid in the overall diagnostic analysis and support the histological diagnosis. In summary, a systematic approach to necropsy procedures on the common cuttlefish is a valuable tool to help with the overall colony management of an aquatic system.


I wish to thank all of the efforts of the staff at the National Resource Center for Cephalopods, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, including Philip G. Lee, John Forsythe, Lee Walsh, and Jonathan Minton. Without their help, this presentation would not be possible.

Speaker Information
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Joseph M. Scimeca, Jr, DVM, PhD
Animal Resources Center and Department of Pathology
University of Texas, Medical Branch
Galveston, TX, USA

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