Fascinating Cuttlefish – Claudia’s goosebump moment
Claudia: “Hi. I am from Romania. I want to share with you my goosebump moment, the first time I saw a cuttlefish changing its ink and color under the water when I scuba dived on Komodo Island, Indonesia. It was a very impressive moment for me. It was happening right in front of my eyes, but I could not realize it was real. The cuttlefish was thinking we were attacking her. So, she was just standing and changing her color from backward to the front and while she was doing that, she was also changing the amount of ink inside her, changing the color from yellow-white to dark blue-black. It was just impressive. I am going to attach a video of it so you can see it. It was amazing!”
Kings of camouflage
No doubt cuttlefish are fascinating animals and are even considered the kings of camouflage. To mimic their environment, cuttlefish can change the color of their skin in an instant, in less than a second. They can even change color in rapid patterns that make it look like waves of color are rolling over their bodies.
This fascinating “light show” effect is a strategy that can help cuttlefish catch their prey. This detailed color-changing ability is even more impressive when you consider that cuttlefish themselves are color blind.
To hide from predators, cuttlefish can mimic the shape and texture of surrounding objects by extending or retracting small protrusions called papillae located along their bodies, which allows them to better adapt to sand, bumpy rocks or other surfaces where they hide.
Cuttlefish are biologically unique
Cuttlefish are quite peculiar in terms of their biology. They are mollusks, like clams, but they have their shell inside, which is called cuttlefish bone and is made of the mineral aragonite. This bone allows them to control the proportion of liquid and gas inside their body, so they can float.
They swim by waving the skirt-like fin around their body and controlling their buoyancy. When they need to move faster, they suck in water through their gills and expel it through the siphon, a straw-like organ under the tentacles, to move by jet propulsion.
Although they are color blind, they can see contrasts in light caused by polarization. To bring things into focus, cuttlefish shift the entire lens of their eye to obtain a precise image. Even before they are born, cuttlefish can use their eyes to detect suitable prey to start hunting when they hatch.
Another peculiarity of cuttlefish is their blue-green blood, because instead of using hemoglobin to transport oxygen through the bloodstream, they use a different protein called hemocyanin, which contains copper.
Because hemocyanin carries much less oxygen than hemoglobin, cuttlefish have to pump blood very quickly through the bloodstream, so they have three different hearts to do the job.
Cuttlefish have the highest brain-to-body ratio of all invertebrates. In marine biology laboratories, cuttlefish are sent through mazes and other experiments designed to test their ability to learn.
The first thing that is usually observed about cuttlefish is that they show an enormous degree of dexterity, as they are able to throw stones with their tentacles and change their shape to quickly resemble nearby objects.
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