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Cuttlefish camouflage changes suggests limits to their vision

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    Cuttlefish camouflage changes suggests limits to their vision

    Cuttlefish have an amazing ability to change their coloration and pattern to match their surroundings. I have posted in previous threads how they can blend in so perfectly into a coral bush or a rock that you are shocked when they suddenly go into their escape maneuvers. Like octopus, they probably use their eyes to judge the background and then send messages to the melanopores in their mantle to match.

    Here some scientists gave the cuttlefish challenges that they may not meet in nature and the poor cuttlefish tried valiantly to match.

    They found that the animals did not respond to the checkerboard pattern when placed on substrates whose color intensities were matched to the Sepia visual system, suggesting that these checkerboards appeared to their eyes as uniform backgrounds. However, their results showed that cuttlefish were able to detect contrast differences of at least 15%, which Mäthger and her colleagues suspect might be a critical factor in uncovering what determines camouflage patterning in cuttlefish.
    I think that it is so cute that the cuttlefish actually show checkerbox patterns when they are on black and white but become this greenish thing when put against a pattern of blue and white. By the way, a substantial portion of their brain must be devoted to this activity. The brain of a cuttlefish is bigger than that of a mouse, for example. Could it be that it is not just a perception problem but the poor cuttlefish's melanin system cannot make the appropriate color.


    Here are octopi in camouflage:



      This Aussie cuttlefish is the largest cuttlefish species in the world.

      Individuals in excess of 5 kg are not uncommon. Every year, from May to August, hundreds of thousands of giant cuttlefish gather in one place to spawn; much to the delight of scientists and divers. The location? Whyalla, a city in south Australia. The ease of access makes these cuttlefish an ideal species to study.

      Their large size makes them especially suitable for tagging studies. Dr. Ron O'Dor at Dalhousie University has placed several different types of acoustic tags and tdr (time depth recorder) tags on giant cuttlefish to learn more about their behavior and physiology. If you want to learn more about these amazing animals, click over to Whyalla, South Australia, the "cuttlefish capital of the world".