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These movies have sound, but the sound has nothing to do with the movie content, since there was no way to record the sound underwater (and there would have been no sound under water in any event). Sometimes you will hear whatever was on the radio (often Howard Stern) at the time. Sometimes you'll hear the parrots hooting in the background. Sometimes the grunts and complaints of the frustrated photographer. You are better off turning the sound down: it will be needlessly distracting.
Hovering (1 MB) : here is one hovering in the water column; the flickering skirt is fascinating.
More Hovering (1 MB) : more hovering in the water column.
Stalking (3 MB) : he stalks something (off screen) by appearing to "walk" on his legs/arms. The posture with the two arms up high keep the attack tentacles available to grab the prey.
Backing Up (3 MB) : he backs up using a mixture of skirt/fin, arms, and siphon.
Swimming Along the Bottom (2 MB) : swimming along the bottom. Notice the changes in the belly color, starting with an iridescent red to white. The blurry colors are images of the fish in the reef tank reflecting off of the surface of the cuttlefish tank.
Grabbing Food and Running (1 MB) : this clip happens very quickly, so look at it over and over again. The cuttlefish approaches the prey, shoots its tentacles out, grabs the prey, tucks it into its arms and backs up rapidly.
More Food Grabbing (2 MB) : very similar to the previous clip.
Another Food Grab (5 MB) : similar to the two above, but this time, the cuttlefish attacks the prey, but misses, approaches again, strikes again, grabs the prey, and then backs up with the prey. Notice that the other two cuttlefish can also be seen in the clip. Also notice how huge and black the cuttlefishes eye is.
Even More Food Grabbing (2 MB) : while one cuttlefish eats contentedly on the bottom, another one approaches the offered food, attacks it with his tentacles, and backs off with the food. The third cuttlefish can be seen on the ground towards the end of the clip. At the very start of the clip, you can just see the cuttlefish that's on the ground burying itself and throwing substrate particles up in the air as it does so.
Final Stalk and Grab (4 MB) : this clip shows the entire stalk and attack sequence in wonderful detail. The stalk phase is very slow and patient, the attack tentacle can be seen emerging slowly at first, and then it lunges out and grabs the food.
Hovering Skirt (3 MB) : a wonderful clip showing the animal hovering and the skirt fluttering. It looks as if it was attacking its reflection, but that reflection is only visible because of the sharp angle that the camera makes with the glass. The animal quite likely could not see its own reflection.
That said, I've seen cuttlefish attacking phantom food on a number of occasions, as if it was more attracted by the reflection of the object than the object itself. Some articles imply that cuttlefish use polarized light to help them identify prey. Light bounced off of a sheet of glass would be polarized, and might explain some of their strange behavior in a tank.
More Hovering (1 MB) : a brief clip showing the skirt moving at a somewhat leisurely pace.
Even More Hovering (6 MB) : this is a complex clip. It starts out with the animal hovering with the tips of its arms gently touching the bottom. Suddenly, the colors change from dark to light, it rises up off the bottom and approaches us. The belly turns red. Notice the siphon disturbing the sand/substrate under the animal. It then backs slowly towards the rocks, and assumes the attack stance, with two arms up and two down.
Head On (5 MB) : a great clip with the animal facing the camera with its arms in attack stance. The skirt is clearly visible throughout.
More Head-On (5 MB) : another clip with the cuttlefish facing the camera, close-up. Towards the end, it seems to send some water towards us from its siphon, perhaps to try to push us away.
Even More Head-On (5 MB) : notice how he uses his arms as if they were legs and he was walking on them, even though he does not need to use his arms for locomotion. Perhaps this gives predators the idea that it is stuck on the bottom, allowing the animal to surprise them by swimming away if attacked.
Skirt From the Side (4 MB) : from the side, with the skirt fluttering gently. The patterns on the back change slowly throughout the clip. Notice the other cuttlefish in the background.
More Skirt From the Side (5 MB) : similar to the above. The patterns on the back change throughout the clip; the skirt action changes throughout the clip; and the animal tries to attack its reflection again.
Stalking Food (5 MB) : this is one amazing clip! The cuttlefish approaches the food, rising up off of the bottom, its belly glowing a soft red. As it approaches the food, the tentacle comes out of the mouth slowly, and then strikes at the food. He grabs the food and the wiggle stick, has trouble detaching the food from the stick, and finally grabs the food and runs off. Towards the end, another cuttlefish considers attacking the same food, but thinks better of it and backs off. Notice how the back patterns on the attacking cuttlefish change radically as he attacks.
More Stalking Food (3 MB) : a brief clip where the cuttlefish rises out of the macro algae to attack the offered food.
Another Stalk and Grab (3 MB) : he approaches the food and strikes at it with the tentacle, but appears to miss (notice the pieces of food floating in the water after the strike). He then grabs the food with his arms and retires to the bottom. Watch the patterns change on his back throughout, along with the colorful red patterns on his belly.
Long Hover (18 MB) : a very long hover in which the animal starts out facing right, then faces the camera, then faces left; radical color changes from brown to white, with iridescent belly colors. This clip is long, but interesting.
Close Up Hover (5 MB) : the closest hover I ever recorded, allowing me to pan back and forth along the body during the hover.
Close Front Hover (3 MB) : a great hover from the front; notice how he bobs in the water, perhaps because of the siphon.
Hover to Walk (6 MB) : starts with a great front hover, and then he drops to the bottom and "stands" on his arms. Note the iridescent arms and belly, the fluttering skirt, and the siphon throwing up substrate.
From Side On Sand (5 MB) : skirt action hovering just above the sand, and then putting its arms down as if they were feet.
Huge Slow Skirt (4 MB) : the skirt moves very slowly and hugely in this clip
One morning, I woke up to discover that one of the cuttlefish had died. It was floating in the tank, so I removed it and put it on my cutting board. It was a sad moment, and I looked at the body with no sense of interest, but only loss. As I looked at it, I noticed some motion, which confused me. This is what I saw (14 MB)
The muscles were not really moving, but the chromatophores, the tiny bundles of muscle that allow the cuttlefish to control its skin color, were changing spasmodically. It was strange and interesting.
I then turned the body over, and was stunned at what I saw. What had been a mildly interesting effect on the head was a stunningly beautiful pattern on the belly. I cannot explain how beautiful these patterns were: the movies do not begin to do it justice. And it went on and on and on, for perhaps an hour. A beautiful creature delivering even more beauty to me, even in death. It was a startling and stunning moment. This clip (21 MB) shows the most beautiful display, but with only moderate resolution, while this clip (18 MB) shows the display with more definition.
Of course, when the next cuttlefish died, I looked for the same phenomenon, but I did not see it on either of the other two cuttlefish.