This week in Lembongan… A resident cuttlefish has been spotted on every dive that we have done at Crystal Bay. This stunning creature must think that it’s camouflage is pretty good because it hasn’t moved much over the last week.Cuttlefish have the amazing ability to adapt their skin shade to match it’s surroundings, allowing it to camouflage itself from predators and to have the surprise attack on prey. The cuttlefish that we have been seeing at Crystal bay, has dug itself a little hole in the sand, in which it rests in and changes its colour to match the sand. To the untrained eye, it just looks like a bump in the sand. The amazing thing about the cuttlefish’s ability to blend into the colours around it, is that they can not perceive colour.
When disturbed from their hiding, the cuttlefish is able to rapidly change it’s colour and create complex patterns in an attempted to scare away predators. This ‘light display’ is something quite special to watch as a diver, as the cuttlefish cycles through different colours and patterns in order to scary away the divers, but it is this display that keeps a lot of divers watching.
It is also this changing colour magic that helps a male cuttlefish during mating. Rapid changing colours and aggressive movements with their tentacles are what is needed to deter other male cuttlefish from trying to mate with a female. Cuttlefish are known to be very intelligent creatures and smaller male cuttlefish have a cheeky trick to help them get in on the action. During mating, it is usually the larger male that wins the chance to mate with the female and not giving the smaller males the chance. All is not lost though, a smaller cuttlefish can adapt it’s shape and appearance to look like that of a female cuttlefish. Now while the larger male cuttlefish is putting on his show, the smaller cuttlefish, disguised as a female, is able to sneak in and mate.
You may even be surprised to know that you may even have a part of a cuttlefish in your house right now. The cuttlebone, which is a thin, but hard bone found in the middle of the cuttlefish, is often used as a calcium-rich dietary supplements for caged birds. That thin white thing that your bird is pecking at, that is a cuttlebone.