Cuttlefish not only change their colour to match their surroundings. They have what appears to be a language of thousands of colours and gestures. Researchers studying cuttlefish in tanks find that they swim up to the side of the tank and make specific colour displays when certain researchers enter the room. This seems to indicate recognition and memory, the desire to communicate. Perhaps they are saying, "Ohayo!" or "Good Morning!" or "You again. Did your mother dress you? You are such a loser." No one knows. But it seems they are saying something.

Cuttlefish, octupi, and squid are common in Mediterranean and Asian diets. Dried cuttlefish are packaged as cheap snacks...

I have learned two very odd but interesting things about cuttlefish courtesy of the Discovery Channel.

  1. The cuttlefish does not see as we humans do or even our friends canis familiaris. No, the cuttlefish sees bent light. "Now," you say, "what the hell use would seeing bent light be?" Not much, if you are you or me, but if your food consists of transparent shrimp, seeing bent light just might help you find dinner.
  2. The other interesting thing about cuttlefish is their manner of catching/attacking said shrimp. The cuttlefish moves all but two of its tentacles up in front of itself, twisted in a strange pattern, such that it really does look from the front like a big mass of tangled seaweed. Now, since it's a cephalopod, it has a siphon propulsion system. This allows it to move forward slowly and silently, still looking like a tangled mass of seaweed. At this point it launches out its last two tentacles from within the others, and grabs the little shrimp with them, pulling it back to its beak with which it crushes and consumes it. Cool, huh?

Cut"tle (kut"t'l), Cut"tle*fish` (-f?sh`), n. [OE. codule, AS. cudele; akin to G. kuttelfish; cf. G. ktel, D. keutel, dirt from the guts, G. kuttel bowels, entrails. AS. cwip womb, Gith. qipus belly, womb.]

1. Zool.

A cephalopod of the genus Sepia, having an internal shell, large eyes, and ten arms furnished with denticulated suckers, by means of which it secures its prey. The name is sometimes applied to dibranchiate cephalopods generally.

It has an ink bag, opening into the siphon, from which, when pursued, it throws out a dark liquid that clouds the water, enabling it to escape observation.


A foul-mouthed fellow.

"An you play the saucy cuttle me." Shak.


© Webster 1913.

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