Many people have heard of the cuttlefish but haven’t actually seen one in person – and we’re just going to say, if you haven’t seen a cuttlefish in person yet, then you’re doing yourself an injustice. These things are just too cool to ignore!
Cuttlefish aren’t actually fish, but instead reside in the cephalopod family along with other well-known marine organisms such as the octopus and the squid. As you might come to expect, this means that cuttlefish share a lot of the same mannerisms as their relatives, including the ability to change color and texture rapidly, the use of ink to make a quick getaway, and adept hunting skills.
Touching on that color and texture-changing capability, cuttlefish sport unique muscle systems that allow them to reflect different colors of light or appear to have different textures. These muscle systems are incredibly dense, allowing for nearly indistinguishable detail from the animal’s surroundings. This capability is also used for hunting, as cuttlefish will deploy hypnotic light shows to lure prey before snatching them to eat.
Science suggests that cuttlefish are particularly smart animals too. Not only can they detect and imitate surrounding colors and textures despite being colorblind, but it seems that even ‘immature’ month-old cuttlefish are able to reliably count. One study showed that the cuttlefish would always choose a box filled with more prey, even when it was difficult to discern any numeric difference between two boxes.
At first glance, the cuttlefish may look like an icky, terrifying sea creature you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near, but it turns out that they’re particularly interesting, if not fun to observe.
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