How do Cuttlefish Shape Shift

The cuttlefish is a marine sepiida (octopus, squid) resembling a small clear squid, and is probably one of the most overlooked, yet incredible wonders of the world, rated as one of the highest intellectually-inclined invertebrate species in existence. Not actually a fish – though baring the name – the cuttlefish is actually a mollusk with an internal shell (cuttle bone), large W-shaped eyes, eight arms, and two tentacles with denticulated suckers used to secure their prey. Each one of their body parts is an incredible entity of its own, allowing the cuttlefish to be, not only a magnificent escape artist, but a very dangerous predator.

The cuttlefish has eclectic dining taste, preferring the likes of small molluscs, crabs, shrimp and fish. But its most interesting attribute is not what it likes, but how it gets what it likes. The powers-that-be were good to this unique creature, giving it all the proper functions necessary to be an extraordinary predator. For example, imagine a cuttlefish is swimming along the shore’s floor when it spots a tasty fish swimming in the distance. What do you think this crafty mollusk will do to acquire its meal? Well, it has several options: one, it can use its boyant cuttlebone interior shell, which is made out of calcium carbonate, to adjust its shape and texture to match what is in the vicinity – be it a nearby rock or some seaweed – then attack its unsuspecting prey; two, it can use its uniquely pigmented skin to either change its color to match anything in the area or radiate a beautiful rainbow of pulsating lights that work to hypnotise its prey; or three, it can shoot its ink, like the octopus or squid, to stifle its prey, then capuring and eating it.

Pretty amazing for a non-human, wouldn’t you say? Well the reasoning behind their remarkable feats are their superior W-shaped eyes. Though they cannot see colors, they can perceive the polarization of light, which allows them to spot their prey and predators before being spotted. And having their eyes wired directly to their brain, they automatically communicate what they see and are able to adjust immediately, which can make dodging predator dolphins, sharks, fish and seals easier. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work in dodging humans, who have not only captured them, but have used them as a focal point of scientific study, and even have chosen them as a meal of choice in various Asian, Italian, and Spanish cuisines.

In the often dangerous world of the deep sea, the cuttlefish is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Its brilliance in the art of foolery is just as remarkable, if not more so, than its radiating color displays. So while many creatures are busy using force to attack their prey, the cuttlefish is also lurking, disguised as a nearby plant, and waiting for the next opportunity to mesmerize its prey with its fabulous light show.