Camouflage in motion

Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) are masters of camouflage. Being able to mimic their surroundings helps them hide from predators. But how do they maintain their camouflage while moving through complex environments, such as coral reefs, sea grass, and varying light patterns? A new study published in Frontiers in Physiology examined this question. They wanted to know how small an object in the environment could be for the cuttlefish to still mimic it quickly enough while moving. What they found was that cuttlefish could match camouflage of objects as small as 10-19cm wide, or just enough to hide them as the mantle length of animals examined in the study averaged 7.2-12.3cm.

These kids could learn a thing or two about hide and seek from cuttlefish…

Image from The Sun, https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1791941/these-16-kids-are-the-absolute-worst-at-hide-seek/

 

Source:

Josef N, Berenshtein I, Rousseau M, Scata G, Fiorito G, Shashar N. Size Matters: Observed and Modeled Camouflage Response of European Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) to Different Substrate Patch Sizes during Movement. Frontiers in Physiology. 17 January 2017. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00671

Comments

  1. #1 Oxergin
    February 28, 2017

    I think that it is so cool that the cuttlefish sees the world “the way that we do” rather than like their common ancestors such as snails. The fact that they can match camo to objects that are 10-19 cm wide is amazing! I think this fish still bring mystery in terms of how the camouflage changes when males are fighting or when it cats its prey. Here is another link that discusses the physical make up of the cuttlefish and it also shows a video of it eating!
    http://www.arkive.org/common-cuttlefish/sepia-officinalis/video-08a.html