Featured Image Credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Cuttlefish are among the coolest and craziest creatures in the ocean. From their effortless glide through the water to their quick camouflage reflexes… they’re a marine mystery that we simply cannot ignore anymore.
1. This one is a little obvious from the title, but cuttlefish are cephalopods, and they’re actually in the same class as octopus, squid, and nautilus.
2. With over 100 different species, cuttlefish can range in size from a mere few inches to over a 3 feet and up to 20 lbs.
3. These creepy crawlies can out reach their cephalopod cousins because they have 8 arms and 2 tentacles for quickly catching their prey.
4. Cuttlefish are highly effective and efficient predators. They feed on mollusks, fish and crabs… as well as other cuttlefish. GASP! They actually have a beak in the middle of their arms, which they use to crush hard shells.
5. These cephalopods literally skirt through the water with help from a fin that wraps all the way around their body and by expelling water to create jet propulsion.
6. Cuttlefish are the kings of camouflage thanks to tons of pigment cells called chromatophores that attach to the muscles in their skin. When they flex their muscles, the pigment is released into the cuttlefish’s outer skin layer, where they can control the both the color and pattern of their skin.
7. Sadly, these creature have a short life span of only 1-2 years and reach sexual maturity around 12-14 months. Males try to woo the females by putting on an elaborate show with the same camouflaging chromatophores cells.
8. The ink excreted from the cuttlefish is called sepia (yep just like the filter) and was historically used for writing, drawing, and certain homeopathic remedies.
9. You’ll never guess what the name of the long and oval-shaped bone that is used to regulate buoyancy. Yep, the cuttlebone.
10. While cuttlefish cannot see color, they can see polarized light. This adaptation allows them to sense contrast and determine what colors and patterns to use when blending into their surroundings. *Note their w-shaped pupils.
This video from National Geographic’s YouTube channel proves that the cuttlefish is truly beautiful… but deadly.