Of all the interesting creatures in the sea, the cuttlefish has to be one of the most unusual. Though it bears the name “fish,” it isn’t a fish at all, but a cephalopod, which includes creatures such as octopus, squid, and nautiluses. The Cuttlefish wears its shell on the inside and is called a cuttlebone. This bone is used to help keep the cuttlefish neutrally bouyant. Many bird owners buy cuttlefish bones at pet supply stores for their birds to sharpen their beaks on. One of the remarkable things about cuttlefish, is their ability to blend in.
This cuttlefish has taken on the coloring and texture of the sand in which it has half buried itself.
This little guy is a fraction of the size of the cuttlefish in the above picture. No bigger than my thumb, it also takes on the color and texture of its surroundings.
One of the amazing things about this Cephalopod, is watching it feed. It has a very long “tongue” that slowly protrudes from it’s mouth until it is a fraction of an inch from it’s pray, then it quickly grabs it’s food and reels it in, in the blink of an eye.
The male and female pair below are courting. A male cuttlefish has four pairs of tentacles, while a female has three. Sometimes younger or weaker males may try to hide one of their pairs of tentacles by tucking them in so that they can approach a female unnoticed by other dominant males. When they mate, the male places a sperm sack inside the mouth of the female with one of his tentacles. She saves it until she is ready to fertilize her eggs.
One of the most exciting cuttlefish is the Flamboyant cuttlefish. This one doesn’t try to blend in at all. On the contrary, they are as colorful as can be, hence their appropriate name. Sometimes their colors will undulate so that it looks like its white stripe is moving down its body. They often hold up the two front tentacles in a “boxing” stance if they are feeling threatened.
These photographs are taken with a Nikon D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission. Please do not copy or print them. To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me