The common cuttlefish is faster than it looks.
The world's oceans are full of many incredible creatures that look like they came from an alien world. None weirder than the cuttlefish. As cephalopods, they are related to squid and octopus. Multiple species of cuttlefish have been recorded as having lived on this planet as early as the time of the dinosaurs.
Despite the weird appearance that makes these critters look like a dumb sea creature, cuttlefish are efficient predators and one of the smartest invertebrates swimming the shallow water seafloors of the world's oceans.
These animals love to eat small fish, crustaceans, and other small ocean creatures. To catch that prey, cuttlefish use two long tentacles. And they move quicker than you might think. The video below showcases this amazing ability in diver-shot footage of one hunting.
The sight of a cuttlefish hunting is a "blink and you'll miss it moment." Cuttlefish are common in warm, tropical fisheries throughout the world. The name cuttlefish comes from the unique internal shell known as a cuttlebone by scientists. They use this shell to control their buoyancy and help them swim up and down in the water column.
Much like an octopus or squid, cuttlefish will sometimes deploy ink as a means of evading predation like other mollusks. These creatures are vulnerable to a plethora of other sea creatures otherwise. Interestingly, this animal also has a lot in common with chameleons. You may have noticed in the video where one of the cuttlefish suddenly changed pigment and caused the skin texture to blend in better with the background. This also helps them to hide in their natural habitat. Although scientists believe the skin color changing abilities are more about displays of dominance during mating season, even though these animals are color blind. Despite that inability to distinguish color, those large eyes are not just for show. That uniquely shaped retina is made to give them excellent depth perception and a larger field of view than a human. These things help the cuttlefish to hunt.
Despite having one of the largest brains of any invertebrate swimming the world's oceans, cuttlefish have an extremely short lifespan. Cuttlefish over two years old are rare. Also, even though many members of the greater cephalopoda family grow quite big, the largest cuttlefish is Sepia apama, aka: the giant cuttlefish. This molluscs body size is only about 20 inches at max and around 20 pounds at the heaviest. It is native to the waters of Australia's many reefs. The cuttlefish truly is one of the stranger, but fascinating creatures in our oceans. It just goes to prove there are many mysteries in the deep that we still do not fully understand.
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