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Flambuoyant Cuttlefish at Tasi Tolu
Wednesday, 11 December 2013

As a new entry in the long list of awesome and rares animals we can see in East Timor, we recently found for the first time in Tasi Tolu the Flamboyant Cuttlefish!!!

This is truly one of the most amazing creatures on the planet. First, it's a cuttlefish, which makes it pretty awesome to begin with. Not really fish at all, cuttlefish are actually part of a stellar group that includes the squid, octopus and nautilus, the cephalopods. Cuttlefishes' skin can literally turn any color or pattern in a blink of an eye, thanks to a powerfully complex nervous system that gives them complete conscious control over each cell. They can even alter the texture of their skin, raising ridges and bumps or going smooth as glass depending on their needs.

Normally camouflaged, the beautiful colors that give this cephalopod its common name are warning colors and are displayed when the animal is disturbed, showing a pattern of black, dark brown, purple and white, with yellow patches around the mantle, arms, and eyes... Beautiful!!!!

The Flamboyant doesn't swim and hover midwater like other cuttlefish. Instead, it crawls on the seafloor like an octopus. This behavior is related to its reduced cuttlebone. These chambers are full of gas and liquid, the relative concentrations of which the animal can alter in order to change its buoyancy. Because of its extra-small cuttlebone, the Flamboyant has a hard time with buoyancy. It can't swim for very long without sinking to the bottom. But what it lacks in buoyancy, it makes up in flambuoyancy! Don't try to cuddle this cuttlefish. Though charming and colorful, this aptly named fish's displays are meant as a warning. Although they rarely encounter humans, their poison is considered extremely toxic and can be as lethal as the poison of the blue-ringed octopus. The bright colors and distinctive posture are the way to show what seems to be universal across the animal kingdom: Stand back, I'm toxic, don't eat me! Here is our new rockstar!!!

 

 

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