Mesmerising Cuttlefishs and their secret weapon in their skin: While related to the humble snail, the cephalopods – the octopuses, squid, ufabet and cuttlefish – are surprisingly smart, and their secret weapon is in their skin.
These characters have a whole range of skin cells that interact in different ways with light. The most obvious of these are chromatophores, pigment cells that can expand and contract in milliseconds so the animal’s skin colour can change in an instant. Some patterns serve to camouflage the animal, a vanishing trick to suit any background, while others provide a means to communicate, signalling a warning or a courtship display.
The changing patterns can also be used to bamboozle prey, and one species that uses this to a remarkable degree is the ufabet broadclub cuttlefish, found on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region from Mozambique right across to Fiji.
The cuttlefish has a soft body, making it vulnerable to the clacking claws of its armoured prey, such as crabs and shrimps, so to gain the upper hand it displays rapidly changing patterns and textures on its skin, switching their function from camouflaged defence to lurid attack.
When hunting, it approaches a target with its body and arms forming an arc.
At its centre is the pair of grasping tentacles coiled and ready to fire. It stalks its prey, switching on a mesmerising display of rapidly changing skin patterns. Black-and-white chevrons sweep across its head and down its ufabet arms like a neon light display at a fairground. The crustacean is thought to be hypnotised and becomes rooted to the spot.
The cuttlefish shoots out its tentacles and immobilises its confused quarry. Dinner is served!