Metasepia pfefferi, also known as flamboyant cuttlefish are one of the smartest and most beautiful invertebrates on this planet. Flamboyant cuttlefish are found in shallow water in some parts of Australia, Malaysia and Papa New Guinea. These cephalopods are truly unique with their remarkable color patterns and their ability to change their color in seconds. I had the opportunity to work with these guys couple years ago at the Steinhart Aquarium and am still fascinated by their beauty.
Flamboyant cuttlefish have eight flattish arms that contain four suckers per arm. The craziest part is that one of their arms (hectocotylus) is modified for fertilization. Unlike other cuttlefish these guys walk on the bottom using their two tentacles. They also use these tentacles to capture food. Like many mollusks, flamboyant cuttlefish also have a diamond shaped internal shell called cuttlebone.
Metasepia pfefferi, have small structures inside their skin called chromatophores, leucophores and iridophores. The cuttlefish have the ability to expand and contract these color pigments that allows them to rapidly change color and the texture of their skin. They use this ability to camouflage and communicate with other flamboyant cuttlefish.
“Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefishes, Metasepia Pfefferi.” At MarineBio.org. <http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=557>.