Whitman Center Fellow Trevor Wardill and team conducted experiments on cuttlefish vision over the past year in the MBL’s Marine Resources Center, publishing their results this week in Science Advances.
While cuttlefish wearing glasses is an unexpected sight, a University of Minnesota-led research team built an underwater theater and equipped the cephalopods with specialized 3D glasses to investigate how cuttlefish determine the best distance to strike moving prey. Their research revealed cuttlefish use stereopsis to perceive depth when hunting a moving target.
Cuttlefish catch a meal by deploying their tentacles and, to be successful in their strike, cuttlefish must compute depth to position themselves at the correct distance from the prey. If they are too close, the prey may be spooked and escape; too far, and the tentacles will not reach.
To test how the cuttlefish brain computes distance to an object, the team trained cuttlefish to wear 3D glasses and strike at images of two walking shrimp, each a different color displayed on a computer screen at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Read more …
Video: Wearing 3D glasses, a cuttlefish strikes at a projected image that resembles a shrimp. From Feord, R.C. et al (2020) Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay6036
Photo (top): Post processed image of cuttlefish wearing 3D cinema glasses to highlight the animal form and relative position of the glasses. Credit: Paloma Gonzalez Bellido