Tactical decisions for changeable cuttlefish camouflage: visual cues for choosing masquerade are relevant from a greater distance than visual cues used for background matching. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Cuttlefish use multiple camouflage tactics to evade their predators. Two common tactics are background matching (resembling the background to hinder detection) and masquerade (resembling an uninteresting or inanimate object to impede detection or recognition). We investigated how the distance and orientation of visual stimuli affected the choice of these two camouflage tactics. In the current experiments, cuttlefish were presented with three visual cues: 2D horizontal floor, 2D vertical wall, and 3D object. Each was placed at several distances: directly beneath (in a circle whose diameter was one body length (BL); at zero BL [(0BL); i.e., directly beside, but not beneath the cuttlefish]; at 1BL; and at 2BL. Cuttlefish continued to respond to 3D visual cues from a greater distance than to a horizontal or vertical stimulus. It appears that background matching is chosen when visual cues are relevant only in the immediate benthic surroundings. However, for masquerade, objects located multiple body lengths away remained relevant for choice of camouflage.

publication date

  • October 2015