Cunning Cuttlefish


I watched an amazing Nova special on cuttlefish, a relative of octopus. These animals really are the "Kings of Camouflage!" I have seen animals that can change colors to match their environments, but I have never seen one able to produce moving colors or to contort their bodies to mimic objects in their environment, like seaweed. Even more amazing is that researchers have discovered one species, the flamboyant cuttlefish, that is actually poisonous which explains why they are brave enough to walk around the ocean floor instead of swim like their cousins. Researchers are currently examining this poison to determine if it will be useful to medicine. This is really a must-see video!!

As if their behavior and ability to adapt were not cool enough, these animals have a bizarre anatomy as well. Their blood is actually blue-green, they have 3 hearts and their brains are shaped like donuts! You can watch a video describing their anatomy on the NOVA website as well.

I could just sit and watch these fish all day. I wonder if the local aquarium has any. Although I am sure the local fish market does as they are a delicacy in some cultures.

Crispy or stuffed cuttlefish anyone?

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NOVA is going to be showing a program on the cuttlefish Tuesday evening, 3 April — it's called Kings of Camouflage, and the website for it is also very well done, with nice illustrations of anatomy and behavior, and one excellent clip of color changes. I'm definitely going to tune in, check it out!
A camouflaged giant Australian cuttlefish. Image from LiveScience; Credit: Sarah Zylinski, Duke University Could you imagine artificial skin capable of quickly changing colors to communicate or hide? Scientists have been testing ways to mimic the skin of cephalopods like squid, octopuses and…

This is fascinating! What is there vision like? Do they really see around them clearly enough to have evolved mimicry?