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These Fish Are Masters Of Disguise


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These fish are masters of disguise

WOODS HOLE, Mass., March 9 Scientists in Woods Hole, Mass., have videotaped Australian cuttlefish, which they say are masters of disguise, camouflaging at night.

In a paper published in the April issue of The American Naturalist, Senior Scientist Roger Hanlon reported for the first time that the giant squid-like cuttlefish used night camouflage to adapt quickly to a variety of habitats on temperate rock reefs.

The fact that we observed multiple camouflage pattern types, each effective in different microhabitats, provides two important insights into visual predator/prey interactions at night, Hanlon said. First, it provides the first behavioral evidence that cuttlefish have fine-tuned night vision. ... Second, such fine-tuned camouflaged patterning implies strongly that fish predator vision at night is keen as well, he said. Hanlon and his colleagues used a video camera in a remotely operated vehicle to observe the cuttlefish, observing that only 3 percent were camouflaged during the daytime peak spawning periods. But at dusk, 86 percent of the animals adapted their body patterns to blend in with habitats ranging from sea grass to rocky reefs.

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