4 min read

7 Reasons Cuttlefish Are Absolutely Fascinating Sea Creatures

<p>Flickr: Richard Ling</p>

1. They are constantly changing their style.
Cuttlefish are known to be the "chameleons of the sea," due to their penchant for changing pigmentation at the drop of a hat. They accomplish this via chromatophores, which are tiny pigment-filled sacs all over the skin. The chromatophores can shrink and expand to release varying amounts of pigment, which in turn changes the overall coloration of the cuttlefish.

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2. They're a little sneaky.
Male cuttlefish have four tentacles, and female cuttlefish have three. Certain male cuttlefish actually tuck one of their tentacles in so they can fool other males into thinking they are females, and consequently steal their mates. This may be a bizarre brand of logic, but that's just how this curious cephalopod rolls!

3. They're light as a feather.
Cuttlefish have a shell, but it is actually inside their bodies. This shell is called the cuttlebone, and is actually what makes the cuttlefish so buoyant, as it is filled with gas. This important cuttlefish trait distinguishes them from their squid cousins.

4. They are unaware of their own skills.
The cuttlefish may be a fantastic color-changing magician, but it is actually colorblind. Very little is known about how cuttlefish manage to camouflage themselves to their environment so easily -- the cephalopods have even been known to match their surroundings in total darkness.

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5. They're toxic.
Cuttlefish capture and eat their prey by extending two long, suction-tipped tentacles and grabbing their (soon-to-be) food. They then drag the unlucky crab or fish to their beak and paralyze the prey with their own poison before consuming them.

6. They don't limit themselves (or their bodies).
Cuttlefish don't stop growing at adulthood. They are classified as indeterminate growers, which means that they mature rapidly in their youth and then continue growly slowly, even when they are considered to have "matured" or become adults.

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7. They're not your typical Casanovas.
Male cuttlefish mate with female cuttlefish by grabbing them by the face (so romantic!) and inserting a tentacle into an opening near the female's mouth, in which sperm is deposited. There are also typically many more males than there are females, so mating can become extremely competitive. If two male cuttlefish get into a territorial dispute over a female, the only way to win is to paralyze the other male with toxins.