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Meet the Aquarium’s Fascinating Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Meet the Aquarium’s Fascinating Flamboyant Cuttlefish


February 18, 2013

The Aquarium has acquired several flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi), and aquarists are raising a second generation from eggs behind the scenes. These animals are cephalopods and are related to octopuses and squid. In the wild, flamboyant cuttlefish can be found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Northern Australia, and Papua New Guinea. They feed on mollusks, crustaceans like shrimp and crabs, and small fish.

Flamboyant cuttlefish are fast-growing animals that live approximately one year. Adult females are larger than males, reaching up to 3.5 inches and 2.5 inches in length, respectively. They have eight arms with two rows of suckers along each arm and two feeding tentacles tipped with a tentacular club. The tentacles and tentacular club capture prey and pull it back to the animal’s beak-like mouth. Flamboyant cuttlefish generally “walk” along the sea floor as their primary mode of locomotion.

These animals have organelles in their skin cells called chromatophores that control rapid color changes. These are thought to aid in communication, hunting, and camouflage. Flamboyant cuttlefish can also change the texture of their skin to look smooth or bumpy, which can help with camouflage.

The Aquarium’s flamboyant cuttlefish are on display in the Jewels of the Pacific exhibit in the Tropical Pacific gallery.