Camouflage during movement in the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)

Noam Josef, Igal Berenshtein, Graziano Fiorito, Antonio V. Sykes, Nadav Shashar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A moving object is considered conspicuous because of the movement itself. When moving from one background to another, even dynamic camouflage experts such as cephalopods should sacrifice their extraordinary camouflage. Therefore, minimizing detection at this stage is crucial and highly beneficial. In this study, we describe a background-matching mechanism during movement, which aids the cuttlefish to downplay its presence throughout movement. In situ behavioural experiments using video and image analysis, revealed a delayed, sigmoidal, colour-changing mechanism during movement of Sepia officinalis across uniform black and grey backgrounds. This is a first important step in understanding dynamic camouflage during movement, and this new behavioural mechanism may be incorporated and applied to any dynamic camouflaging animal or man-made system on the move.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3391-3398
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


  • Animal behaviour
  • Background matching
  • Cephalopods
  • Chromatophores
  • Common cuttlefish
  • Dynamic camouflage
  • Movement camouflage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology


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