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Visual interpolation for contour completion by the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) and its use in dynamic camouflage

Sarah Zylinski, Anne-Sophie Darmaillacq and Nadav Shashar
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 279, No. 1737 (22 June 2012), pp. 2386-2390
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41549550
Page Count: 5
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Visual interpolation for contour completion by the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) and its use in dynamic camouflage
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Abstract

Cuttlefish rapidly change their appearance in order to camouflage on a given background in response to visual parameters, giving us access to their visual perception. Recently, it was shown that isolated edge information is sufficient to elicit a body pattern very similar to that used when a whole object is present. Here, we examined contour completion in cuttlefish by assaying body pattern responses to artificial backgrounds of 'objects' formed from fragmented circles, these same fragments rotated on their axis, and with the fragments scattered over the background, as well as positive (full circles) and negative (homogenous background) controls. The animals displayed similar responses to the full and fragmented circles, but used a different body pattern in response to the rotated and scattered fragments. This suggests that they completed the broken circles and recognized them as whole objects, whereas rotated and scattered fragments were instead interpreted as small, individual objects in their own right. We discuss our findings in the context of achieving accurate camouflage in the benthic shallow-water environment.

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