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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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Cuttlefish are a part of the Sepiida family. The Cuttlefish are advanced in many different ways that allow them to adapt to their environment. This Characteristic allows them to avoid predators and gather foliage and other resources easily. The camouflaging abilities of cuttlefish affect the way cuttlefish live, the way they reproduce, and they way the hide from predators.

Cuttlefish camouflage is one of the most unique camouflage abilities in the world. When cuttlefish camouflage, they expand the pigments in their body increasing surface area five hundred times the original size allowing them to absorb certain colors and reflect only the colors they want. (Paul Karoff, Harvard University).

The pigments the cuttlefish use are called chromataphores, they are also the organs of the cuttlefish. These Organs contain luminescent protein nano structures that allow them to make quick and elaborate changes in color and patterns on their skin. (Leila Deravi, Harvard Seas). Cuttlefish utilize this camouflage to send messages to other cuttlefish by flashing certain colors.

The Cuttlebone protects the organs of the cuttlefish and ensures the cuttlefish can keep a steady air supply. The Cuttlefish does this by balancing the hydrostatic pressure using osmotic force by utilizing the water and blood in the cuttlebone. (Cambridge, 1961) This allows the cuttlefish to stay under longer and gather more food before returning to the surface for air.

The Cuttlebone also allows cuttlefish to evenLy distribute gases and liquids throughout the cuttlefish body. When the liquid is pumped out of the chamber, the salt is not left behind, it is either freed or bound to the structure of the bone. The walls of the chamber allow the cuttlefish to remain less dense. This gives cuttlefish their ability to balance the hydrostatic pressure and continue hunting. (Cambridge, 1961)

Cuttlefish camouflage has flaws with disruptive coloring when patterns are to small for them to process or perceive. A study held by the journal of experimental biology discovered this by placing cuttlefish on a series of different sized computer generated checker boards. The sizes ranged from 4%,12%,40%,120%, and 1200% the original size of a checkerboard.

The Scientists composed all of these to match the cuttlefish neurophysiologically controlled skin component called the white square. They observed the adaptations the cuttlefish made and recorded that most cuttlefish struggled on the smaller squares opposed to the larger squares. (Journal Of Experimental Biology,2007)

A more modern study held by a group of scientists named The Royal Society B proved that the disruptive coloring of cuttlefish was not a struggle, but a new mechanism the cuttlefish used to blend in with rapidly changing backgrounds. The camouflage the cuttlefish use is a chief characteristic in Cephalopods, the main family cuttlefish are from. The study shows that they use this disruptive coloration to match the light shimmers and throw predators off. (Royal Society B, 2009)

Cuttlefish use their ability to camouflage in their everyday lives to hunt, they mostly feed on foliage or smaller organisms. Cuttlefish can utilize this ability to hide from their natural predators such as dolphins in the shallow water. The cuttlefish can rapidly change the pigments to help them camouflage when needed. The study the environment around then change the pigments to further blend themselves in with their surroundings avoiding contact with predators.

This ability allows them to search for prey and keep an eye on the predators lurking in the shallow waters. Like many octopi, The cuttlefish live in caves and dens to avoid predators at nighttime. When it\'s dawn, the cuttlefish hunt for food in the shallow water while hiding from predators until about dusk, when the cuttlefish returns home.

Certain types of cuttlefish do not utilize this ability, such as the Flamboyant Cuttlefish. When threatened, the Flamboyant Cuttlefish remains stationary rushing water at its target, all while flashing its colors and pulsing its fins. Cuttlefish hunt by searching for small organisms or other cuttlefish to eat in the shallow water.

Some cuttlefish use their camouflage ability to sneak up on prey, at which they launch two tentacles that drag the prey to them. Cuttlefish diets include other cuttlefish, small crabs, or foliage. Cuttlefish use their camouflage in these scenarios for survival, meaning that cuttlefish have to utilize their camouflage to live.

Cuttlefish can also trigger a startle mode at small predators. The Startle mode flashes a array of bright colors at the predator and scares it away. This function is also used to scare other cuttlefish off of certain territory. This function is mostly utilized against small predators because big predators will not be as easily startled and will kill the cuttlefish.

The Cuttlefish also use the flashing color function to relay messages to predators. The cuttlefish if attacked, will relay a message to the predator if it is easily deterred. This function is risky because they stop moving and give the predator time to move in and strike.

The cuttlefish study the behavior of the predator and use this tactic to successfully prevent the attack in most scenarios. These adaptations make the cuttlefish camouflage so unique. The cuttlefish can also be deterred if the predator draws near and calls the bluff of the cuttlefish.

The cuttlefish uses a tactic called the demiatic display. As a potential predator draws near, the cuttlefish triggers is camouflage to pattern into the demiatic display. While it only lasts a few seconds It is constantly triggered by predatory stimulus. The cuttlefish may potentially camouflage using this display, or scare away a small predator.

The demiatic display can be used by cuttlefish to either scare prey or predators allowing the cuttlefish time to strike or time to run away. This does not work on larger predators as they are less intimidated and will still strike the cuttlefish.

Cuttlefish also use their camouflage ability to mate. Cuttlefish mating is a contest between males over a female. The cuttlefish fight and the strongest cuttlefish gets the female, and the female stays under the male’s protection for a little. The proceed to mate by rushing water at the female to clean out any other competitors genes to ensure that the dominant male traits show.

They continue to rush water at the female for a while until the female is impregnated and lays eggs in the nest. The male stays guard on the eggs while the female rests. The eggs then hatch a fully formed cuttlefish and that cuttlefish soon follows in the footsteps of its parents.

If the female does not want only strong babies, it can play the waiting game. The female will sometimes go with the strong male and wait for a smart cuttlefish to come by. A second male will swim by camouflaged as a female to distract the male, while only showing the other side which is not camouflaged to the female to show that the cuttlefish is smart.

The male will then proceed to lure the stronger male away from the female and steal the female while he is distracted. They will then begin the mating process as standard and secure a nest. Most females do this practice to ensure their babies are smart and strong. It allows the females to ensure the kin they produce will be high functioning and they will survive. After the full hatching process is over, the male and female leave the young to survive on their own.

Cuttlefish breeding can have either a positive impact on offspring, or a negative impact. This relies on certain colors that affect the growth rate and health of the cuttlefish offspring. The ability to find the right color helps the offspring survive and repopulate the cuttlefish population by making sure the cuttlefish survives long enough to mate and produce more healthy offspring.

Cuttlefish utilize their camouflage abilities in many ways, to help them survive. The Camouflage the cuttlefish utilize is unique and unlike any other camouflage in the world. The cuttlefish use their special camouflage abilities to make their lives easier and help them to survive, this includes their mating rituals, their hunting techniques, and their ability to hide from predators.


“A to Z of Oz Marine Life.” A to Z of Oz Marine Life, Accessed 1 Mar. 2017.

The website chosen describes the topic of cuttlefish in detail. The source explains cuttlefish habitat and ecology in vivid detail. The website is not biased at all because the source never takes a side on wether the cuttlefish is good or bad. The source will be used to provide information about how cuttlefish live and act.

“\"Chameleon of the sea\" reveals its secrets.” Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 28 Jan. 2014, Accessed 3 Mar. 2017

The website describes the topic of cuttlefish camouflage in extensive length. The source features diagrams of the camouflage cells that explain how the Cuttlefish gets its camouflage capabilities. This website is unbiased, providing facts without expressing opinion. The source will be used to provide more information on camouflage for my paper

Aquarium, Tennessee. “Cuttlefish.” Tennessee Aquarium, Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

The sources goes in depth on how the cuttlefish skeletal system works. The source also goes into detail of how the cuttlefish was given its scientific name. The source is not biased, while providing many useful facts for the paper. The source will be used to explain how the cuttlefish can utilize its form to maneuver in its habitat.

“MarLIN - The Marine Life Information Network - Common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis).” MarLIN - The Marine Life Information Network - Common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis), Accessed 8 Mar. 2017

The Source will provide information about cuttlefish identification and habitat. The Source goes into detail and provides many pictures and lengthy paragraphs that are full of utilizable information. This source is not biased, and sports lots of information. The source will be used to provide more information about cuttlefish in the wild for the paper.

Melli, Valentina, et al. “From Trap to Nursery. Mitigating the Impact of an Artisanal Fishery on Cuttlefish Offspring.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

The source will provide information about cuttlefish mating and is also a peer reviewed article. The source provides pictures and diagrams about how cuttlefish mate. The source is not biased and has been checked for bias by peers. The source will be utilized to explain cuttlefish in more detail.

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