Search Menu
Photonics Media Photonics Marketplace Photonics Spectra BioPhotonics EuroPhotonics Vision Spectra Photonics Showcase Photonics ProdSpec Photonics Handbook

Cuttlefish: Flashy by day, cryptic by night

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email
Michael J. Lander


During the day, cuttlefish on spawning grounds move about the ocean floor in plain view. Males wave their arms in aggressive bouts (left), and both genders engage in conspicuous sexual signaling. In another sunlit setting, a cuttlefish guards its mate (middle). As reported in the April 2007 issue of The American Naturalist, however, Roger T. Hanlon and colleagues at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., have found that such activities cease after nightfall. Furthermore, the invertebrates assume disruptive, mottled or uniform camouflage patterns, as seen in a nighttime image of a cuttlefish among seafloor vegetation (right). Courtesy of Roger T. Hanlon.

It is thought that cuttlefish show diverse cryptic coloration patterns to avoid predators, which have evolved to possess acute vision under dark conditions. The complex behavior of the animals points also to their own excellent eyesight and to the efficiency of their visual system. In this study, mottled and disruptive patterns, or a combination of the two, were most common and afforded the cuttlefish near invisibility in exposed areas after dusk. Even during the daytime, when faced with a group of dolphins, stingrays or other predators, the creatures were observed to descend rapidly to the substrate and to camouflage themselves.

May 2007
BiophotonicsPost Scripts

view all
back to top
Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS
©2022 Photonics Media, 100 West St., Pittsfield, MA, 01201 USA, [email protected]

Photonics Media, Laurin Publishing
x Subscribe to BioPhotonics magazine - FREE!
We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.