Cryptic and biochemical responses of young cuttlefish Sepia officinalis exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of fluoxetine

Carole Di Poi, Flavie Bidel, Ludovic Dickel, Cécile Bellanger

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49 Scopus citations


Antidepressants released in the environment have the potential to generate neural disrupting effects in non-target organisms, yet their putative effects on behaviors have never been studied in cephalopod molluscs. This study assessed the impact of the antidepressant fluoxetine (FLX) on the efficiency of cryptic behaviors (body patterns on uniform, checkerboard and sandy substrates), locomotor activity, and brain chemistry in young cuttlefish exposed to environmental concentrations (1 and 100ngL-1 of FLX) during the perinatal period. Behavioral responses of cuttlefish were monitored at hatching and two weeks later, and brain monoamine contents were quantified at one month of age. FLX significantly altered the camouflage efficiencies on uniform and sandy backgrounds only at the lowest concentration, but not at 100ngL-1. Hatchlings exposed to 1ngL-1 of FLX exhibited a duration exposure-dependent decrease in the uniform camouflage. They also showed a significant increase of the frequency of sand digging behaviors which might make them highly visible to predators in nature. When tested again two weeks later, cuttlefish seemed to have recovered and no more behavioral alterations were observed showing a transitory effect of the antidepressant. FLX did not affect the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine and their metabolites; however, it seemed to influence dopaminergic activity between the two FLX-exposed groups. The results show for the time that environmentally realistic concentrations of a single SSRI significantly impair the cryptic performances of newly hatched cuttlefish, and may ultimately reduce their chance for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Toxicology
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is a contribution to the Pharm@Ecotox project funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR, fr: Agence Nationale de la Recherche). This research work was also supported by a post-doctoral grant from the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie (France) to C. Di Poi. The authors gratefully acknowledge Sophie Corvaisier for the validation of the HPLC method, the staff of the Centre de Recherches en Environnement Côtier (Luc-sur-Mer, France) for egg collecting, and Rebecca Olley for editing the English form. The video sequence has been generously provided by Anne-Sophie Darmaillacq and Christelle Jozet-Alves.


  • Camouflage
  • Cephalopods
  • Fluoxetine
  • Locomotor activity
  • Monoamines
  • Sand digging behavior
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)


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