Saturday, June 4, 2011

Photos: Shape-Shifting Cuttlefish Can Mimic Pictures

Photos: Shape-Shifting Cuttlefish Can Mimic Pictures

Photograph courtesy Justine Allen, Marine Biological Laboratory

During recent research into how cuttlefish adopt camouflage positions, a common cuttlefish (left) raises two of its eight arms in apparent mimicry of artificial algae placed in its tank. The animal reacted similarly when shown a photo of green algae, said biologist Roger Hanlon.

It's been known that many cuttlefish—and their squid and octopus cousins—adjust their postures and rapidly change color to resemble nearby objects, a strategy to evade predators.

But the recent lab experiments are the first to confirm that cuttlefish use visual information to determine those gestures, according to Hanlon, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

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