Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Like the Portuguese man o war we should probably make it clear from the outset that this is in the wrong place. This is a cuttlefish, not an octopus. A related group, but not the same thing. A balance has to be found between accuracy and useful groupings of animals.

Anyway, this brightly coloured creature is a cuttlefish. Similar to an octopus, but still having something of an internal shell, something octopus got over ages ago.

Cuttlefish are able to make amazing displays of light and colour with their bodies, and it’s obvious this one isn’t messing around.

The bright colours on this cuttlefish aren’t just a mating display or something, though. They’re a threat. This guy is loaded with tetradotoxin, the same neurotoxin that makes pufferfish deadly poisonous and gives the blue ringed octopus its deadly venom.

This is the difference between that latter and this guy. Venomous and poisonous do not mean the same thing. In general, venom needs to be injected, like that of a snake or spider, while a poisonous animal has to be eaten. Thankfully this cuttlefish is poisonous. You’re in no danger if you don’t eat it.

This means that unlike the Blue-Ringed Octopus, Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish can stay being considered just... fabulous.

Metasepia pfefferi