New Animals: Pharaoh and Dwarf Cuttlefish

The cuttlefish exhibit is squirming with some new tentacles these days. There are currently two species hovering about this exhibit in the tropical gallery right now. Let's get to know these cunning cephalopods!

Find the cuttlefish exhibit on Level One in the Tropical Gallery, right across from the little blue penguins 

First up, the pharaoh cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis). These cuttlefish are juveniles, only around 3 to 4 months old. They will get considerably larger than their neighbors, the dwarf cuttles. Pharaoh cuttlefish differ from the common cuttlefish in that around their mantle, they have a blue iridescent ring of color.

This pharaoh cuttle's blue/purple ring of color around its mantle is easy to spot in this picture

Visitor Sarah Anders shared a fascinating video of cuttlefish behavior on our Facebook page. You can see one cuttlefish approach another one, and it appears that it thinks the tentacles of the other one are food. It isn’t until the whole cuttlefish moves that the aggressor seems to stop trying to attack the tentacles. Cuttlefish appear to raise their tentacles in that way as a sign of defense or warning to another animal. This video is a nifty display of just how well cuttlefish can camouflage themselves!

Look for the pharaoh cuttlefish near the bottom of the exhibit,
blending into the sandy substrate. 

Don't miss the dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis)! This species tends to hang more towards the surface and  you'll notice they have a more bumpy skin pattern with more purple tones in them. They are as big as they will get! 

Dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis)

Cuttlefish are masters at camouflage and can change the color of their skin to blend in to its surroundings
or to communicate with fellow cuttlefish.

These species can be on exhibit together now since they are all about the same size as each other. At some point the pharaoh cuttlefish will outgrow the dwarf cuttlefish and we will have to take the dwarf cuttles behind the scenes. So hurry in to see these two species on exhibit while you can!

And if you want a little more cuttlefish in your life, check out these previous blog posts:

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