Monday, April 09, 2007

Giant Australian cuttlefish found

Thanks, Sherry, for leading me to this:

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!

The cuttlefish ranges in size from about 3 inches (8 centimeters) to
about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long. Its oval body is commonly brown with
crossbands and purple spots. It is brilliantly metallic in the sunlight
and often changes color. The cuttlefish's body is surrounded with a
frilled fin.

Night is dangerous for giant Australian cuttlefish. They live in rock
reefs and are known to dive to the depths of the nearby sea grass to
avoid being eaten. For years scientists have studied the beautiful
colors that these animals (these cephalopods are kindred to the squid
and octopus) can turn. However, they have only studied them during

Technology has improved enough to allow these scientists to study them
at night using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) with a video camera
attached. What they are discovering is cuttlefish DO change color at
night too! The reason postulated is that their predators have good
night vision and can find them, and that the night vision and color
adaptation skills of the cuttlefish are good enough to keep themselves
hidden in plain sight.

Because visual predation in the world under the ocean at night has not
been studied, scientists are excited to be discovering information from
the other half of the daily cycle of life – at least in the Australian

The above definition along with a great picture is from the World book
Encyclopedia which you and your students can locate at the State Library
of Kansas site starting at . You can also find articles in SIRS,
Thomson-Gale (InfoTrac) which includes the article by Roger Hanlon, et
al Adaptable Night Camouflage by Cuttlefish from The American Naturalist
vol. 169:4 (April 2007) that inspired this message, and from ProQuest.

Sherry Hawkins Backhus, MLS
Information Professional
"Who dares to teach must
never cease to learn."
John Cotton Dana

Register for a temporary Kansas Library Card at:

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