One of the smallest yet most colorful of its species, the flamboyant cuttlefish lives up to its name.
Getting to know flamboyant cuttlefish
Native to the Indo-Pacific region, the flamboyant cuttlefish is quite small when we compare it to other cuttlefish, growing up to only 3 inches (8 cm). This is the only species of cuttlefish that’s known to crawl on the seafloor instead of swimming gracefully like others. It also has a very robust aspect, unlike some other species.
Flamboyant cuttlefish enjoy muddy and sandy sea floors and divers can see them both during the day and at night. They hunt for crabs, shrimp and small fish using tentacles with suckers to capture their prey.
Vibrant color patterns
As their name suggests, heir most distinctive feature is their color pattern. When attacked or disturbed or when they are stalking a prey the flamboyant cuttlefish changes from its normal dark brown color to show patterns of white, brown, red and yellow that can be truly mesmerizing. They can also change the shape of their body and texture of their skin as part of their camouflage skills. The animals begin using these techniques as soon as the eggs hatch, so even juveniles can use this ability. They also use the changes in color to mate or to threaten other cuttlefish if they feel intimidated.
They are also the only species of cuttlefish that is toxic to humans, as their meat contains toxin.
Once the male fertilizes the eggs, the female deposits them in crevasses, under rocks or in coral so they are protected from predators. Once the eggs develop, they become translucent, making it possible to see the tiny cuttlefish inside. When they hatch, the juveniles are independent immediately.
Seeing flamboyant cuttlefish
These cuttlefish are active both during the day and at night. Their small size can make them difficult to spot but they are quite slow-moving so once you have found one, there’s plenty of time to observe its behavior or snap a few pictures. Divers can spot flamboyant cuttlefish around the Indo-Pacific, particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines.