Cuttlefish use depth perception similar to vertebrate vision when hunting prey

January 08, 2020

Cuttlefish viewing a movie of shrimp through 3D glasses properly positioned themselves to strike the "prey," suggesting these cephalopods hunt using a process called "stereopsis" to calculate depth based on the distance between overlapping images perceived by their left and right eyes. While cuttlefish have been known to possess binocular vision, this is the first study to reveal that they use their eyes in tandem (like vertebrates) to estimate the distance of prey before clutching it with the suckers of their tentacles and subduing it with toxins. However, the cuttlefish did not always appear to rely on coordination between their eyes--they moved their left and right eyes independently of one another, similar to chameleons, earlier in the hunt right up until the moment they chose to strike. Despite their impressive cognitive abilities, cephalopod brains are structured entirely differently from those of humans. However, their camera-like eyes are strikingly similar to those of vertebrates, leading scientists to wonder how cephalopod brains implement visual processes. To investigate whether cuttlefish use stereopsis to perceive depth, R.C. Feord et al. outfitted 11 adult cuttlefish from southern England with 3D glasses and showed them two overlapping images of a shrimp silhouette against a random pattern of bright and dark dots. The shrimp was hidden by the dots when the images were viewed individually, but when the wearer's eyes viewed them together they formed an illusion of a shrimp walking across a screen. Differently from both vertebrates and praying mantises, the cuttlefish could perceive depth through stereopsis regardless of whether the image was lighter or darker than the background.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Cuttlefish Articles from Brightsurf:

Touch and taste? It's all in the tentacles
Scientists identified a novel family of sensors in the first layer of cells inside the suction cups that have adapted to react and detect molecules that don't dissolve well in water.

Researchers find cuttlebone's microstructure sits at a 'sweet spot'
Ling Li has a lesson in one of his mechanical engineering courses on how brittle materials like calcium carbonate behave under stress.

This cuttlefish is flamboyant on special occasions only!
The flashy Flamboyant Cuttlefish is among the most famous of the cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish) - but it is widely misunderstood by its legions of fans.

First gene knockout in a cephalopod is achieved at Marine Biological Laboratory
A team at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has achieved the first gene knockout in a cephalopod using the squid Doryteuthis pealeii, an exceptionally important research organism in biology for nearly a century.

Great white shark diet surprises scientists
The first-ever detailed analysis of the diet of great white sharks has shown they spend more time feeding at the seafloor than many would have expected.

New genetic editing powers discovered in squid
Revealing yet another super-power in the skillful squid, scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory have discovered that squid massively edit their own genetic instructions not only within the nucleus of their neurons, but also within the axon -- the long, slender neural projections that transmit electrical impulses to other neurons.

Cuttlefish eat less for lunch when they know there'll be shrimp for dinner
Cuttlefish can rapidly learn from experience and adapt their eating behavior accordingly, a new study has shown.

Squid brains approach that of dogs
We are closer to understanding the incredible ability of squid to instantly camouflage themselves thanks to research from The University of Queensland.

The mysterious, legendary giant squid's genome is revealed
Important clues about the anatomy and evolution of the mysterious giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are revealed through publication of its full genome sequence by a University of Copenhagen-led team that includes scientist Caroline Albertin of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole.

Cuttlefish use depth perception similar to vertebrate vision when hunting prey
Cuttlefish viewing a movie of shrimp through 3D glasses properly positioned themselves to strike the 'prey,' suggesting these cephalopods hunt using a process called 'stereopsis' to calculate depth based on the distance between overlapping images perceived by their left and right eyes.

Read More: Cuttlefish News and Cuttlefish Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.