A catalog of the chromatic, postural, and locomotor behaviors of the pharaoh cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) from Okinawa Island, Japan

Ryuta Nakajima, Yuzuru Ikeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Coleoid cephalopods such as cuttlefishes, squids, and octopods are able to produce a diverse array of visual expressions that are used for mimesis and inter- and intraspecific communication. They achieve this by intricately combining several neurally controlled behaviors, which include chromatic, textural, postural, and locomotor components. To understand this diverse range of body patterns, it is necessary to develop an accurate and extensive catalog of them, which can then be used as a tool for future behavioral monitoring and quantitative analyses, as well as for the identification of morphologically identical sub-species. In this study, a catalog of the chromatic, postural, and locomotor behaviors was produced for the pharaoh cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) from coastal waters of Okinawa Island, Japan. Data were collected from aquacultured animals using egg masses sampled from around the island and hatched in aquaria during 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. In total, 53 chromatic, four supplementary chromatic conditions, three textural, 11 postural, and nine locomotor components were identified and described in detail. Many of the described components are similar to previously described body patterns of Sepia officinalis. However, there are notable differences between the two species, which may indicate that they use body patterns in different ways for cryptic behavior and inter- and intraspecific communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-753
Number of pages19
JournalMarine Biodiversity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the staff of National Resource Center of Cephalopods, especially Crystal Crain and Paul Di Marco for helping us to start up our study and Chikatoshi Sugimoto, Kohei Okamoto and Haruhiko Yasumuro at University of the Ryukyus, Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Sciences for technical assistance and animal maintenance. We also thank Bernd Budelmann, Phillip Lee, Jesse Purdy, Shuichi Shigeno, Graziano Fiorito and John Bower for valuable discussions. This project is funded by generous support from University of Minnesota Grant in Aid 2009, University of Minnesota McKnight Imagine Grant 2009 & 2010, Institute for Advanced Study Interdisciplinary Research Grant, and the McKnight Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Individual Artist Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Body patterns
  • Catalog
  • Cephalopods
  • Cuttlefish
  • Sepia pharaonis


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