Cuttlefish Behavior Studies

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#1
Going up or sideways? Perception of space and obstacles negotiating by cuttlefish
Gabriella Scatà, Anne-Sophie Darmaillacq, Ludovic Dickel, Steve McCusker, Nadav Shashar 2017 (subscription Frontiers in Physiology)

Abstract
While octopuses are mostly benthic animals, and squid prefer the open waters, cuttlefish present a special intermediate stage. Although their body structure resembles that of a squid, in many cases their behaviour is mostly benthic. To test cuttlefish's preference in the use of space, we trained juvenile Sepia gibba and Sepia officinalis cuttlefish to reach a shelter at the opposite side of a tank. Afterwards, rock barriers were placed between the starting point and the shelter. In one experiment, direct paths were available both through the sand and over the rocks. In a second experiment the direct path was blocked by small rocks requiring a short detour to by-pass. In the third experiment instead, the only direct path available was over the rocks; or else to reach the goal via an exclusively horizontal path a longer detour would have to be selected. We showed that cuttlefish prefer to move horizontally when a direct route or a short detour path is available close to the ground; however when faced with significant obstacles they can and would preferentially choose a more direct path requiring a vertical movement over a longer exclusively horizontal path. Therefore, cuttlefish appear to be predominantly benthic dwellers that prefer to stay near the bottom. Nonetheless, they do view and utilize the vertical space in their daily movements where it plays a role in night foraging, obstacles negotiation and movement in their home-range.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Unique arm-flapping behavior of the pharaoh cuttlefish, Sepia pharaonis: putative mimicry of a hermit crab
Kohei Okamoto, Haruhiko Yasumuro, Akira Mori, Yuzuru Ikeda 2017 (Subscription Journal of Ethology)

[DWhatley] I rolled my eyes at the title and abstract but the link also includes video and you would be hard pressed not to see the hermit crab appearance.

Abstract
Cephalopods are able to control their arms sophisticatedly and use them for various behaviors, such as camouflage, startling predators and hunting prey. Here, we report a previously undescribed arm-flapping behavior of the pharaoh cuttlefish, Sepia pharaonis, observed in captivity. S. pharaonis raised the first pair of arms and wrinkled the parts near the distal end, where the skin color was darkened. Additionally, S. pharaonis spread the second and third pairs of arms and bent them as if they were jointed, and flapped the distal ends. S. pharaonis showed this behavior in two different situations: after being introduced into a large space, and during hunting. We discuss the putative functions of this behavior, including possible mimicry of a hermit crab, considering the situations in which the behavior was observed.
 

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