Journal article

Female impersonation as an alternative reproductive strategy in giant cuttlefish

MD Norman, J Finn, T Tregenza

Proceedings of the Royal Society B | ROYAL SOC | Published : 1999


Out of all the animals, the cephalopods possess an unrivalled ability to change their shape and body patterns. Our observations of giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama) suggest this ability has allowed them to evolve alternative mating strategies in which males can switch between the appearance of a female and that of a male in order to foil the guarding attempts of larger males. At a mass breeding aggregation in South Australia, we repeatedly observed single small males accompanying mating pairs. While doing so, the small male assumed the body shape and patterns of a female. Such males were never attacked by the larger mate-guarding male. On more than 20 occasions, when the larger male was distrac..

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University of Melbourne Researchers