provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Viable eggs of Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) arrived at the Museum from Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in late January. After a few weeks of incubation, the eggs began to hatch and, before we knew it, we had several Flamboyant Cuttlefish hatchlings! Shortly after hatching they began to stalk and hunt their live prey of mysids, a small shrimp-like crustacean.
Unlike other cephalopods, Flamboyant Cuttlefish are very active during the day. They can not swim very far, so they use their arms to “crawl” along the ocean floor. Rather than swim away when they are threatened, the Flamboyant Cuttlefish will display a variety of colors to startle its prey, warning them that they are toxic.
The Flamboyant Cuttlefish are now on display in the Cephalopod Gallery and can be found in a small “crib” within the exhibit. The use of the crib is so the aquarists can keep a close eye on them, to ensure that all are eating. Once they are large enough, they will be released into the permanent exhibit.
Be sure to stop by and check out these colorful beauties the next time you visit the Museum.
About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a Natural History Museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. Their mission is to connect people to the natural world through their love of shells and the marvelous animals that create them. Their collections, programs, and expertise inspire learning, support scientific research, tell the story of mollusks, and the ocean that they inhabit. There are more mollusks in the oceans than all marine mammals and fish species combined, and mollusks are becoming extinct faster than they can be named due to climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution. For more information on the Museum, please visit http://www.shellmuseum.org or call (239) 395-2233.