Fun Facts about the Cuttlefish


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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Flamboyant Cuttlefish

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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

Just Pulling Your Leg


A few years ago Octomom was all the rage in our news.  Can you imagine?  A woman gives birth to octuplets!  Then last May we heard about Octogoat, a young goat born with eight legs in Croatia!  It all seems too crazy to be true.  Now, thanks to Disney Jr., we have the Octonauts; a group of quirky characters dedicated to rescuing amazing sea creatures and  protecting the ocean.  Now these guys are the real deal.  Or am I just pulling your leg?  Well, legs seem to be the order of the day for the Octopus whose eight appendages aid it’s every move from feeding to locomotion to camouflage.

Mimic Octopus

Mimic Octopus

These amazing cephalopods are interesting in every way.  The Mimic Octopus (above) pulsates with color when agitated, turning from dark brown to light with striped legs.  The octopus below, is the same octopus only a few seconds later.  It is trying to make itself look more threatening by spreading out.

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One of the things that really fascinates me is the Octopus’s ability to camouflage itself.  This one imitates the sand that it lives in.

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This one looks very much like a rock.

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This one imitates the colors of the corals it inhabits,

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And this one blends in with the surrounding fauna.

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There are many different kinds of Octopus, and this tiny Pygmy Octopus was a riot to watch.  It has the tiniest little short legs which it hides underneath it’s body (while they are actually digging away the sand beneath)  Then Poof!  It disappears into the hole it was hiding with it’s body.

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Here is another Pygmy who’s body is disproportionate to it’s legs.  This one was also digging a hole to hide in, but rather than hiding that process under it’s body, it’s legs threw “handfuls” of sand out as it dug.

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The Pacific octopus takes on the greenish and reddish tint of the algae around it’s den, not to mention the rough terrain, and loves to wrap itself up in it’s own legs.

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Nothing is more surprising than watching an octopus slip into a space that is a fraction of it’s size, or hide inside an empty beer bottle. The octopus’s remarkable ability to change its appearance makes it seem like one of those far fetched octo-tales we hear about in the tabloids, but in this case, I am not pulling your leg!