During recent research into how cuttlefish adopt camouflage positions, a common cuttlefish (left) raises two of its eight arms in apparent mimicry of artificial algae placed in its tank. The animal reacted similarly when shown a photo of green algae, said biologist Roger Hanlon. It's been known that many cuttlefish—and their squid and octopus cousins—adjust their postures and rapidly change color to resemble nearby objects, a strategy to evade predators. (See "Cuttlefish Change Color, Shape-Shift to Elude Predators.") But the recent lab experiments are the first to confirm that cuttlefish use visual information to determine those gestures, according to Hanlon, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. "Camouflage is one of the least studied subjects in biology. It would be nice if our paper encourages folks to look at this behavior more carefully in other animals," said Hanlon, whose new study was published May 11 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. —Janelle Weaver

No One Here But Us Plants

During recent research into how cuttlefish adopt camouflage positions, a common cuttlefish (left) raises two of its eight arms in apparent mimicry of artificial algae placed in its tank. The animal reacted similarly when shown a photo of green algae, said biologist Roger Hanlon. It's been known that many cuttlefish—and their squid and octopus cousins—adjust their postures and rapidly change color to resemble nearby objects, a strategy to evade predators. (See "Cuttlefish Change Color, Shape-Shift to Elude Predators.") But the recent lab experiments are the first to confirm that cuttlefish use visual information to determine those gestures, according to Hanlon, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. "Camouflage is one of the least studied subjects in biology. It would be nice if our paper encourages folks to look at this behavior more carefully in other animals," said Hanlon, whose new study was published May 11 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. —Janelle Weaver
Photograph courtesy Justine Allen, Marine Biological Laboratory

Photos: Shape-Shifting Cuttlefish Can Mimic Pictures

Cuttlefish use visual cues to rearrange their bodies for maximum camouflage, a new study confirms.

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