Physiology of Camouflage in Cuttlefish (Sepia sp.)

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European Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). Image courtesy Phillip Colla (www.oceanlight.com)

Night Camouflage
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There are many members of the Animal Kingdom that employ camouflage in some way, from chameleons to humans. Camouflage is often used to avoid predators or hunt prey. Cuttlefish are arguably one of the best at using camouflage quickly and effectively. They can be considered the marine masters of disguise. Cuttlefish have the ability to change their body coloration and texture instantly to blend in with their background. This camouflage is extremely complex and highly specific to the different backgrounds cuttlefish encounter. Due to the complexity and wide range of their camouflage patterns, it is difficult to analyze and describe research collected on cuttlefish body patterning. Nonetheless, cuttlefish are regarded as model organisms for studying camouflage because they can change their skin pattern rapidly (Shohet et al., 2007). This website discusses the physiology of cuttlefish camouflage and describes several studies that have been done on this fascinating topic.

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European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). Image courtesy of Andy Murch (http://elasmodiver.com)
 

This website was created as a part of a class project in the Animal Physiology Class at Davidson College