Wild observation of putative dynamic decapod mimicry by a cuttlefish (Sepia cf. smithi)

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Abstract

Stereo baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) are widely used to document diversity, abundance, and biomass of marine wildlife and record unusual behaviours. We observed a cuttlefish appearing to mimic decapod morphology and locomotion during a non-targeted BRUVS study on Australia’s Northwest Shelf. While the pharaoh cuttlefish Sepia pharaonis (Ehrenberg, 1831) is putatively thought to mimic the appearance of a hermit crab in a laboratory setting, our observation is the first wild record of decapod mimicry by a cuttlefish, tentatively identified as Sepia smithi (Hoyle, 1885). In situ observations increase our understanding of how cuttlefish behave in their natural environment while interacting with other species and provide opportunities to further our understanding of the source and breadth of these mimicry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalMarine Biodiversity
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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