The cuttlefish is an amazing organism. This organism is specialised for its environment. With many different adaptations, but what is most impressive is their skin. They can change their colour and texture to blend into their surroundings, help with their hunting or reproduction.
Watch the video bellow. This is a cuttlefish in hunting for a crab.
Notice how the cuttlefish doesn't only change its colour and shape for hiding from predators, but also for hunting.
To the right is another video of the cuttlefish hunting a crab.
But how does the skin work? How can it change in (literally) the blink of an eye. The answer is nerve action.
As you can imagine this requires a lot of cells. The cuttlefish has roughly 10 million little colour cells. They have complete control of these neurons, turning some on and leaving others off, essentially creating any form of pattern.
The smaller male cuttlefish will pull in its webs and change its colour to appear female. This way, he can move next to the female and mate with her, while the larger cuttlefish fight amongst themselves.
This can be seen in the video to the left.
Perhaps more amazing than their dazzling hunting display is their techniques for reproduction.
We all know that in the animal kingdom the bigger, stronger animal gets the female, but the cuttlefish have changed that. The smaller cuttlefish can’t compete with the larger cuttlefish so what do they do?
Within their skin they have Chromatophores. Chromatophores are small elastic stacks containing pigments. They can expand of contract depending on what the cuttlefish wants.
Observe the animation to the left. The black lines are muscles. Notice how they pull the pigment out, expanding it. Relaxing the muscle shrinks the pigment.
The video above was taken by NOVA. You can view this on youtube, under ‘kings of camoflauge’.