Video: Cuttlefish mimics a hermit crab

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Cuttlefish have been filmed apparently imitating hermit crabs by researchers in Japan.


A team at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, first spotted the odd behaviour in Pharaoh cuttlefish, Sepia pharaonis, while feeding them in the university lab.

Watch the video below and you’ll see for yourself just how good this mimicry is. The cuttlefish raise their front arms and wave them about, while bending those behind to make them look as though they are jointed, like the legs of the crabs.

The cuttlefish were filmed impersonating hermits when prey was present. As hermit crabs aren’t predators the researchers think it could be a method of lulling potential prey into a false sense of security before striking. But the mimicry could also be a useful form of defence, by fooling predators into thinking the soft-bodied cuttlefish are covered in a hard shell.