Meet our king of critters

There is a creature, I can never get enough of. A critter with a striking attitude - so small, yet feeling so big. A Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) is outstanding on many levels and therefore: Our king of critters.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish: A love story in pictures

Diving is a lot about fantastic beasts and where to find them! Therefore we start off with some photographs of flamboyant cuttlefish, my king of critters, and continue with more information below the picture gallery.

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Introduction to flamboyant cuttlefish

Scientific name - Species: Metasepia pfefferi - Genus: Metasepia - Family: Sepiidae - Order: Sepiida - Class: Cephalopoda - Phylum: Mollusca - Kingdom: Animalia

Metasepia pfefferi is a slow swimmer, relative to other cephalopods, such as squid. The internal cuttlebone is used to regulate buoyancy by controlling the gas and liquid that it lets into the chambers of the cuttlebone. Because the cuttlebone is small relative to the mantle, [this] cuttlefish in general cannot swim very long and generally "walk" along the bottom. Metasepia pfefferi has a highly developed set of eyes. During the day, it spend its time actively hunting for food. The chromatophores located on its skin allow them to easily change colors to blend in with their environment when stalking prey.
Animal Diversity Web

More facts on flamboyant cuttlefish

  • native to sandy habitats in the Indo-Pacific Ocean from depths of 3 to 86 m
  • one of the smaller cuttlefish species (up to eight centimetres)
  • eight arms and two tentacles furnished with denticulated suckers
  • walking by using two arms as leg-like appendages and modified flaps on the mantle under the body
  • lifespan estimated 18 to 24 months. However, many females die after laying their eggs (more on reproduction)
  • highly developed eyes (large, black w-shaped pupils), yet colour blind
  • remarkable ability to rapidly change colours, colour patterns, and colour intensity as well as skin texture to blend with its background
  • active during the day
  • feed primarily on crustaceans and bony fish
  • one of the very few cephalopods that are poisonous (like blue-ringed octopus or striped pyjama squid) and only poisonous cuttlefish (poison in muscle tissue) - research by Mark Norman
  • being a completely different class of toxin, flamboyant cuttlefish, can be the key to whole new discoveries for lots of human medical conditions

To see flamboyant cuttlefish, my king of critters, in full glory and action, watch Yoeri's clip from the Philippines: Critters of the Visayas.