Feeds

Crafty cuttlefish mimics male and female – at the same time

Too sexy for my body, on the right side only

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Male cuttlefish try to avoid fighting other males over mating rights, and new research from Macquarie University in Sydney has revealed the trick one species can play to look harmless: it can imitate male and female simultaneously.

Changing colours and patterns is well-known among sea creatures like cuttlefish, squid and octopus, but the Sepia plangon cuttlefish of Sydney Harbour takes it a step further: it can split its colouring down the middle to show male patterns on one side and female patterns on the other.

Researcher Culum Brown, an associate professor at Macquarie, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that "while displaying his super-cool male colours towards the girl,” the cuttlefish observed in the researchers’ tank “would be simultaneously pretending to be a female to other males”.

The side facing other males, on the other hand, was the motley brown pattern of a female.

That gender-bending marvel means it can try to hide its presence from a nearby male, while at the same time trying to look attractive to the female target of its affections.

The colour-split is best seen if you pause Culum Brown’s YouTube video at about eight seconds:

Not only is the colouring trick impressive in its own right, the researchers point out that it demands remarkable intelligence from the creatures: they only try the technique if it’s got a reasonable prospect of success. Brown says the trick is only attempted in the presence of a single competing male, when the half-male-half-female look mightn’t be detected. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.