The brightly colored flamboyant cuttlefish truly deserves its name; walking on the sea floor while changing colors in a hypnotic wave-like pattern.




Due to its wonderful colors the flamboyant cuttlefish is a favorite of underwater photo- and videographers. It can change colors due to different structures in the skin containing colored ink which can be rapidly expanded and contracted. This is used as camouflage to stalk its prey as well as to scare predators off. Like many other types of cephalopods they can release ink as well while escaping from a (predator). However, mostly a flamboyant cuttlefish would just remain in place and display the color pattern to show how poisonous it is. So far only three types of cephalopods are known to be poisonous.
flamboyant cuttlefish


It also helps with taking pictures that they mostly don’t move too fast while, unlike other cuttlefish, “walking” on the ground. To move they use their arms and flaps on their mantle; this type of locomotion has been called “ambling”.



These cuttlefish with the scientific name metasepia pfefferi can be mainly found on shallow sandy or muddy sea floor during the day, so basically during muck dives. The distribution includes northern Australia, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Some of the best places to see them include Lembeh, Anilao, Mabul and Dauin.


flamboyant cuttlefish



An internal shell named cuttlebone made out of calcium allows the cuttlefish to control the buoyancy by filling and emptying small chambers with gas.


Like all cuttlefish they are good hunters using a feeding tentacle to catch the prey.


flamboyant cuttlefish



During copulation the male inserts a pack of sperm into a pouch under the females mantel. She fertilizes her eggs and lays them under a coconut (which I have just seen in Anilao, there were about 15 eggs), a rock or any shelter she can find.


I did see my first flamboyant cuttlefish in Mabul, Malaysia. Being very lucky we could observe a fight, probably between two males over a female, see the video below.