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Cuttlefish Can Change Color in the Blink of an Eye

Cuttlefish Can Change Color in the Blink of an Eye

October 15, 2015

Natural Sciences

Discover — Most camouflaged creatures try to hold still so they won’t give away their ruse. But cuttlefish aren’t most creatures.

“Cuttlefish are one of nature’s fastest dynamic camouflagers,” says Noam Josef, a graduate student in BGU’s Department of Life Sciences. They can change color in just one tenth of a second.

To see how cuttlefish change colors while in motion, Josef collected eight common European cuttlefish and observed them as they swam through a tank with a multi-colored background. As the background changed from gray to black, so did the fish. See video >>


A cuttlefish blending into its surroundings.

“We were a bit surprised to see these results,” Josef says. He had thought the animals might adjust their camouflage more gradually as they swam across the different backgrounds. Yet most of the time they started their transition almost immediately, before they even reached the next color.

Although octopuses may have a similar skill, this is the first time scientists have recorded an animal changing its camouflage while in motion.

Read more on the Discover magazine website >>