10 Amazing Facts About Cuttlefish

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  • Image: Shiny Things

    Spectacular lavender cuttlefish

    With green blood, three hearts, and able to change colour in a flash, it sounds like a ‘weird aliens’ movie creature ~ Paula Weston

    The amazing cuttlefish belongs to the class “cephalopoda”, the same family which octopus and squid belong to.

  • Image: Rainer Zenz

    Cuttlefish at Georgia Aquarium

    Not only does the cuttlefish have the characteristics described above but it is also considered to have the highest intelligence of any invertebrate, as well as the ability to see backwards, use jet propulsion and keep buoyancy in the same way that submarines do. Oh, it shoots jets of ink as well!

  • Image: Jenny Huang

    Pfeffers Flamboyant Cuttlefish

    10. Cuttlefish bone is filled with gas!

    Cuttle-bone (the things you see in bird cages) has small chambers and like a submarine, filling or releasing the gas in them controls the cuttlefish’s buoyancy.

  • Image: Firefly5

    Close-up of cuttlefish head

    9. The flesh of the Flamboyant Cuttlefish is poisonous

    This is the only species of cuttlefish known to have any poisons and it carries a unique toxin in its muscles. This species is also short and stubby, unlike the long graceful bodies of most others.

  • Image: Nick Hobgood

    Sepia latimanus (reef cuttlefish) with dark coloration, seconds before turning white.

    8. The cuttlefish eye is shaped like a W.

    The unique shape of the pupils plays a part in the most highly developed eyes of any animal. They allow the cuttlefish to perceive light polarization and completely reshape their eyes to focus. They also really do have the proverbial eyes in the back of the head, with a second spot on the fovea which allows them to see backwards.

  • Image: Nick Hobgood

    Sepia latimanus (reef cuttlefish) with white coloration. Seconds prior, this individual was dark in coloration.

    7. Cuttlefish can change color in mere seconds

    The beautiful pink reef cuttlefish seen here and in the previous image is actually the same fish. The two pictures were taken just seconds apart, cuttlefish change color using a series of special skin cells, chromatophores, iridophores and leucophores, which reflect light in all sorts of colors.

  • Image: Raoul654

    Infant Cuttlefish Shows Camouflage

    6. Cuttle fish can make themselves completely invisible

    Not only do they reflect colors, they are able to merge almost completely with the seafloor.

  • Image: opencage

    Common cuttlefish Sepia esculenta

    5.Cuttlefish shoot jets of ink

    Cuttlefish ink was the original sepia which was once used by artists – nowadays replaced mostly with synthetic sepia. The ink is used as a defense to confuse predators and allow the cuttlefish time to escape.

  • Image: Ogergo

    4. Cuttlefish don’t have a tail

    They have a fin all the way around their body instead of tail fins, like squid, and they use this fin to control movement.

  • Image: ifish

    Pharaoh Cuttlefish using its rocket propulsion, Moyo Island

    3. Cuttlefish have jet propulsion

    Cuttlefish can escape from enemies by using rocket propulsion. Water is squeezed down their body (mantle) into a special tubular muscle (siphon) that controls the direction as they are propelled backwards for a short distance

  • Image: Nick Hobgood

    Large cuttlefish Sepia apama from Komodo National Park

    2. Cuttlefish have green blood

    Their blood is green because it uses the protein hemocyanin which has copper in it rather than hemoglobin.

  • Image: Leonard Low

    Cuttlefish, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia

    1. Cuttlefish have 3 hearts

    They have three separate hearts, one for each gill and and one for the rest of the body. One reason is that their blood flows more rapidly as hemocyanin contains much less oxygen than hemoglobin.

    These amazing animals (cephalopods) are so unique and beautiful. Even submarines have made use of their buoyancy methods and they have physical characteristics that no other animal has, yet most of us only know them by the piece of cuttle-bone in a bird cage. Hopefully these facts have led you to admire them as much as I do.

    Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Michele Collet
Michele Collet
Scribol Staff
Environment
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