Flamboyant Cuttlefish

20-Sep-2015 Back to Image Gallery

Flamboyant Cuttlefish


Underwater I am never more excited than when I encounter and engage new and bizarre life forms I have not experienced before. Some of these creatures are giants, but some are tiny.

My first encounter with a Flamboyant Cuttlefish in Papua New Guinea was amazing. None of us had ever heard of or seen such a thing. The little creature moved across the sea floor using its tentacle arms as legs, it displayed its presence by waving the wide web’s on the sides of its arms and all the while pulsating colour travelled up and down its body like an electric light show.

In fact if it wasn’t for Bob & Dinah Halstead’s MV Telita expeditions in Papua New Guinea and Bob’s passion for `Muck Diving’ we might never have experienced such encounters. We shared many voyages with them, they shared many discoveries with us.

Since then I encountered this little cuttlefish in many indo/pacific countries. They have many facets of their behaviour to reveal, some yet to be discovered.

As a photographer I look for the story in the creature, the challenge is to capture that story in a single image and bring it to the world above.

Photo Data: Genre: Macro with twin strobes. Photography Data: Nikon D800, Nikkor 60mm Lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Strobes and Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 100 Exposure f32 @ 1/125th sec shutter speed. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: Spend time with this bold little creature as it will ignore you and provide plenty of photo opportunities as it continues with is normal behaviour. This will include pursuing a mate, egg laying and hunting prey.

A classic shot is the moment it presents its hunting tentacle to seize prey, this is a classic predation shot every marine life photographer aspires too. You will recognise the moment just before it occurs as the cuttlefish will partly extend its tentacle just before it strikes. You should also be shooting very close to the seafloor (usually coral rubble or silt) to ensure you are at eye level with your subject.
I have Seacam S45 & S10 Viewfinders which I can fit to my housing so I can see comfortably through the system when the camera is lower to the seafloor than I can get. This is an enormous advantage. If you can see well you can shoot well.

After all, a half blind photographer is no more effective than a half deaf musician!

Interesting Facts: At only about 8 cm in size the Flamboyant Cuttlefish is small but it is quite bold and advertises its presence so flamboyantly it may well pack a powerful punch. It is likely this species is either toxic or has a poisonous bite. Just like its distant relative, the Blue Ringed octopus. However this has yet to be determined?

Common names. Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Flambo. Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish. Latin name. Metasepia pfefferi

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