Flamboyant Cuttlefish - Metasepia pffeferi

© 2000 by Image Quest 3-D
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Photograph by Roger Steene

This amazing little cuttlefish (Phylum Mollusca, Class Cephalopoda, Order Sepioidea) hardly looks like a cephalopod at all, but appears to be a sunken leaf or piece of algae when viewed resting on the sea floor. Like most cephalopods, it can change its colour and appearance instantly, to be less conspicuous. This species is known from the Great Barrier Reef and Indonesia.

Few people realise that the cuttlebone we give to cage birds to keep their beaks in trim is the internal bone of the cuttlefish. These bones are often found washed up in large numbers on Australian beaches. The bone is made of very thin layers. The cuttlefish fills the gaps between the layers with gas and uses the bone both as a skeleton and a floatation chamber.

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2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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