Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cuttlefish chicanery

Scopped this cool cuttlefish video from Carl Zimmer:

Cuttlefish Camouflage (NY Times video)

We actually maintain a few cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) here at RWU. They're definitely the stars of the "wet lab", though monstrously difficult to keep. Beyond being picky eaters and sensitive to environmental conditions, we've had a couple leap out of their holding tank. One perished on the concrete floor, the other was rescued and put back into the tank, but had fractured its cuttlebone and didn't survive long.

One of the PIs here is working with a student on diet imprinting in young cuttlefish. One of the reasons cuttlefish are hard to maintain in captivity is that they generally only eat live food. The student here is working on getting the cuttlefish to imprint on non-live food with the hope that as adults they will be able to thrive on a diet that is less a pain-in-the-ass to deal with.

Almost daily, when I get home from work, my kids ask me if I saw the cuttlefish and they always want to come to my work to see them. I have to admit, I'd probably spend hours watching them if I could.

2 comments:

Rick MacPherson said...

i thought i fractured my cuttlebone in the early 80's as an undergrad marine bio major at rwc... it got better though...

Jim Lemire said...

Rick, it's not that kind of bone...