Cuttlefish from the family Sepiidae are a family within the Superorder decapodiformes (“ten-foot” as they have eight arms plus two tentacles) that they share with the different squid families.
What cuttlefish are more known for, however, is their mesmerizing ability to play with the colour, light and reflection of their skin to transform themselves in less than a second. While they share this ability with their fellow cephalopods, cuttlefish have been observed in very fine-tuned communications conveyed via the play of their skin. As fertilization is internal (and can even be reversed by a second male who scoops out the previous suitor’s sperm with his depositing tentacle) courtship and “guarding” are quite elaborate. Signalling of the different sexes has evolved some importance as males will first sparkle to impress, then changing into an aggressive suit while guarding their female after their successful courtship (they can even still dazzle with the half of the body that their partner sees while giving very “stay away” vibes with the other half of their mantle). In a similar vein, females that are receptive will seduce with one shade while females that are ready to lay egg and would like to be left alone (thank you very much!) adopt a different look. An interesting strategy that has arisen from this “traffic light party” scheme is that small and weaker males, who would otherwise likely never stand a chance at scoring, have taken to “dressing up in drag”, by adapting the look of those females that are done with business in order to sneak up to females currently guarded by their partner and quickly taking a chance with her.
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