Early familiarization overrides innate prey preference in newly hatched Sepia officinalis cuttlefish Academic Article uri icon


  • In the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, hatchlings do not benefit from parental care and have to search independently for their own food. We investigated the effect of exposing newly hatched cuttlefish to a nonpreferred prey on their subsequent choice of prey. We tested the choice of food between crabs (nonpreferred) and shrimps (preferred) made by 3-day-old cuttlefish that had been exposed visually and chemically to crabs at hatching, or had been exposed visually only to crabs, or had had no exposure to crabs. Juveniles that had been exposed to crabs significantly preferred crabs, whereas hatchlings that had had no crab exposure preferred shrimps. These results show that a simple visual exposure to a naturally nonpreferred prey immediately on hatching is sufficient to change the juvenile cuttlefish's innate preference.

publication date

  • March 1, 2006