By Parent Géry (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Interactions with Other Species

Cuttlefish usually swim alone, but they are known to swim with up to six other cuttlefish (Ikeda 2009).  A school of fish outnumbers a single cuttlefish, therefore, a school of fish could act as competitor. They act as competition to the cuttlefish because the school of fish scares away or consumes the cuttlefishes' possible prey (Langridge 2009).

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Cuttlefish usually prey on crustaceans, like the dungeness crab, snow crab or the white shrimp, but sometimes they will prey on a few different species of fish (Blanc et al. 1998). When a cuttlefish pursues its prey, it usually attacks within one minute (Darmaillacq et al. 2008). Thus, within that one minute the cuttlefish may use a technique to stun its prey. This technique involves flashing the color of its skin while waving its arms and making itself appear larger. The prey is mesmerized by this appearance and they become immobilized and helpless (NOVA 2007).

Predators of cuttlefish include fish, sharks, seals, and even other cuttlefish (Langridge, 2009)!  Cuttlefish have soft bodies which make them vulnerable to predators, therefore, cuttlefish have several visual displays that protect them. One of the displays is called the deimatic display. The deimatic display is performed by many species across the animal kingdom. It consists of the sudden expression of dark spots that resemble eyes, and the enlargement of their body to look threatening (Langridge 2009). They enlarge their body by sucking water into their mantle cavity and spreading their arms (NOVA 2007). Another visual display is their camouflage. Cuttlefish have body-patterning techniques that allow them to blend into their surroundings so they can avoid being caught by predators (Ikeda 2009). However, if the visual displays fail to warn off a predator, and the enemy gets too close, the cuttlefish will jet ink and disrupt the view of the predator, then make a quick getaway (Langridge 2009). By Schellack at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons 

Humans can also be seen as a threat because they capture cuttlefish to eat. For example, the picture to the left is apopular italian dish,  linguine with cuttlefish and cuttlefish ink sauce.                                 





Cuttlefish have learning abilities which give it an advantage over other species (Ikeda 2009). In fact, even as embryos they are being visually imprinted with how their prey looks and how it acts. Therefore, once the baby cuttlefish hatch, they know what their food looks like, and how to find it without the help of a parent (Ikeda 2009). Photo by Karla Otta

Cuttlefish are known to have a variety of interspecies communication. They use body-patterning techniques, they emit chemical odors, and respond to vibrations of the water surrounding them (NOVA 2005). It is thought that the chemical communication is connected with reproductive behavior (NOVA 2005).



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