Cuddle fish: “Kings of Camouflage”

   Cuddle fish are often considered “Kings of Camouflage”. Though they are quite common in many parts of the world, one “can’t get a weirder looking animal underwater” They have no outer shell and a skin that changes color pattern and shape. Cuddle fish are considered kings among their species because of their spectacular display, intelligence and their size.

     One of the reasons cuddle fish perform a “dazzling show” is for self-defense but have evolved for camouflage as well. Their predator includes but not limited to dolphins, sharks, seals, seabirds and even humans. To avoid their predators as well as to catch their prey like crabs and lobsters, cuddle fish change their color and texture. The top layer of a cuddle fish skin is yellow, red and brown pigmented cells. The next layer is reflecting cells with blue and green cells with white as a base. Their brain looks for visual cues in predators and preys and sends it to the electric cells extremely quick. “Cuddle fish like their meals alive” and hence they perform a dazzling show to stun its prey and leave it helpless. The stunned prey can now be devoured with a strong grip without losing an arm. Their skin changes the texture by “pushing bumps” as well to blend into the background. Hence, Cuddle fish can be compared to Chameleon in terms of their “spectacular display”.

     Also, Cuddle fish are extremely quick learners as well as adapt to their environment. This quality in cuddle fish makes them highly intelligent. The average life expectancy for these fish is about one to two years. They are amazing while sneaking in “coral camouflage”. According to a study done by scuba divers, Cuddle fish don’t get fooled by “crabs in the glass”. After several tries, they learn that their prey is secured in a barrier that they cant break and so move on. In another study, cuddle fish mistakes a toy fish for food but quickly realizes the mistake and lets it go. In one study when cuddle fish were to make their way out of a simple maze, they managed to learn more than two things at once. This helped them to secure a real exit while ignoring the fake ones. In terms of mating, female cuddle fish outnumber males 10 to 1. During mating behavior, large cuddle fish involved in the faceoff and spectacular displays, while smaller cuddle fish crossdress and successfully mate with the females.

     Last, but not least Cuddle fish are “largest mammals of all invertebrates”. They can grow to about “three feet long” and have the biggest brain to body ratio among all invertebrates. The size not only differentiates them smallest fish but invertebrates like Octopus alike. Though they grow large, they have a small lifespan of about 18 months to 2 years. Also, they are extremely erratic which adds to their size as ferocious creatures.

In conclusion, Cuddle fish are “Kings of Camouflage”. However, this does not stop them from being fished for food as well as other uses such as gold casts.



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