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Tipsheet for the May issue of the American Naturalist
Date:4/26/2011

Article highlights from the May issue of The American Naturalist:

  • Cuttlefish: From camo to tuxedo in less than a second
  • Genes control fruit flies' social groupings
  • What can twins tell us about mate choice?

For the full May issue table of contents, go to www.journals.uchicago.edu/an. For more information or for photos (where available), contact Kevin Stacey: kstacey@press.uchicago.edu.

Cuttlefish: From camo to tuxedo in less than a second

Cuttlefish have the amazing ability to instantly change their color and body pattern so they can hide from predators or, alternatively, broadcast their presence to potential mates. A new study led by Sarah Zylinski of Duke University shows just how good these animals (relatives of octopus and squid) are at this quick change routine. Using sophisticated image analysis techniques, Zylinski and her team compared the color patterns of cuttlefish to patterns in their surroundings, both when the animals were hiding and when they were signaling. "The analysis shows that the cuttlefish are able to match intricate visual characteristics of their aquatic environments to maximize their camouflage against the visual systems of their vertebrate predators," Zylinski said. "However, in the presence of females, the males adopt body patterns that deviate from their immediate environment and make themselves maximally conspicuous." The research also suggests that cuttlefish may seek out simpler backgrounds when attempting to signal. [Photos available]

S. Zylinski (University of Sussex and Duke University), M. J. How (University of Queensland), D. Osorio (University of Sussex), R. T. Hanlon (Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory), and N. J. Marshall (University of Queensland), "To Be Seen Or To Hide: Visual Characteristics of Body Patterns for Camouflage and Communicat
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Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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