Assessing nocturnal camouflage in giant cuttlefish using an AUV

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research (MScR)


Despite being colour-blind, cuttlefish are masters of visually driven camouflage. At night there is less light available, and visual acuity drops, limiting visual input from natural environments. Cuttlefish have been known to adapt their camouflage patterns with decreasing light levels. This study uses images captured with an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle to assess if cuttlefish are producing a similar range of patterns with lower light levels, utilising the annual mating aggregation of Giant cuttlefish. Cuttlefish produced a range of camouflage patterns, even at starlight levels, which suggests they are able to either continuing to acquire visual information at low light levels to synthesis pattern choice, or they settle into and effective pattern when light levels are conducive with their visual acuity and continue to maintain this. Future work is needed to apply recent experimental developments in our understanding of cuttlefish skin-pattern space, as well as test the efficacy of camouflage patterns in the field during low-light conditions.
Date of Award19 Mar 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorMartin J How (Supervisor) & Nicholas W Roberts (Supervisor)

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