Cuttlefish Hunting Behavior: Figures and Tables

Figures and tables for the paper “An experimental method for evoking and characterizing dynamic color patterning of cuttlefish during prey capture” (in prep):


Camouflage and signaling sequences associated with prey capture by cuttlefish

Figure 1: Camouflage and signaling sequences associated with prey capture by cuttlefish. Tentative framework for the sequence of body patterning during prey capture (see also [7]). This study focuses on the 3 seconds immediately before and after prey capture, circled in red in this diagram. Illustration: Jennifer Deutscher.

Experimental tank setup

Figure 2: Experimental tank setup (not to scale). An acrylic box (43 x 43 x 81 cm, open top) with ‘robotic prey’ (shrimp piece on a plastic skewer moved by an Arduino-controlled servo motor) on the left, perched on top of the experimental tank wall, and “starting point shelter” on the right, where cuttlefish can hide during acclimation. An overhead camera (not shown) provided a top-down, monochrome recording of the setup, while an underwater camera (also not shown) recorded from another angle in color.

Example screenshot of mantle body pattern after filtering for analysis

Figure 3: Example screenshot of mantle body pattern after filtering for analysis. A screenshot of the mantle body pattern (+1000ms after TGB) is shown after filtering through the 4 frequency bands used by Process Cuttle Python (modified from [21]) to analyze the TSP.

Ethogram of body pattern changes during hunting behavior in captive Sepia officinalis

Figure 4: Ethogram of body pattern changes during hunting behavior in captive Sepia officinalis (exemplary screenshots from overhead video). The top row shows body pattern changes (TSP) during a successful attack, while the bottom row shows body pattern changes during an unsuccessful attack. All images are frames from manually cropped and aligned video clips of tentacle shots made by the same animal. Red boxes indicate ROI described in Methods section ‘Video analyses – characterizing the TSP’.

Quantifying the dynamics of TSPs with 'granularity' analysis, frequency band 2

Figure 5: Quantifying the dynamics of TSPs with ‘granularity’ analysis, frequency band 2. A. Mean ‘granularity’ of body pattern during tentacle shots in frequency band 2 (measured by Process Cuttle Python, modified from [21]), from 3 seconds before TGB to 3 seconds after TGB, normalized and pooled across all subjects. B. A shuffle test (N=20,000 shuffles) of the difference of means (catch vs. miss) show significance at 470ms after TGB. See Figure S8 for granularity analysis and shuffle test plots at all spatial frequencies.

Schematic of body pattern changes during prey capture, shown in 4 stages

Figure 6: Schematic of body pattern changes during prey capture, shown in 4 stages. 1. TGB minus 1000 milliseconds: Animal is typically transitioning from the positioning phase to the seizure phase of the hunt (see [8]), and tentacles are just beginning to show from within the arms. 2. TGB (Tentacles Go Ballistic): This is the moment when tentacles are ballistically released towards the prey or food item. 3. TGB plus 400 milliseconds (Tentacle Shot Patterns appear): By 400 milliseconds after TGB, the ‘granularity’ of the deployed body pattern has increased significantly as compared to the ‘granularity’ of the body pattern deployed during baseline (TGB minus 3000 milliseconds to TGB minus 2000 milliseconds). 4a. TGB plus 1000 milliseconds, Catch (TSPs persist): When the hunt is successful, the ‘granularity’ of the deployed body pattern remains high. See Fig. 7 for all examples of TSPs in the dataset. 4b. TGB plus 1000 milliseconds, Miss (TSPs disappear): When the hunt is unsuccessful, the ‘granularity’ of the deployed body pattern returns to baseline. Illustration: Danbee Kim.

Figure 7: Examples of Tentacle Shot Patterns. This composite image shows screenshots of all tentacle shots by all animals at 233.5 milliseconds after TGB, the timepoint when TSPs are most strongly displayed, regardless of whether the animal caught or missed the prey.


Table 2: Accuracy of seizure via tentacle shots

Table 1: Accuracy of seizure via tentacle shot while hunting robotic prey, for all animals throughout the entire experimental protocol.

Table 2: Summary of TSP dynamics

Table 2: Summary of TSP dynamics, showing mean timing of appearance of TSP, and timing of significant (p<0.05) divergence between successful and unsuccessful hunts.


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