Visual interpolation for contour completion by the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) and its use in dynamic camouflage

Sarah Zylinski, Anne Sophie Darmaillacq, Nadav Shashar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cuttlefish rapidly change their appearance in order to camouflage on a given background in response to visual parameters, giving us access to their visual perception. Recently, it was shown that isolated edge information is sufficient to elicit a body pattern very similar to that used when a whole object is present. Here, we examined contour completion in cuttlefish by assaying body pattern responses to artificial backgrounds of ‘objects’ formed from fragmented circles, these same fragments rotated on their axis, and with the fragments scattered over the background, as well as positive (full circles) and negative (homogenous background) controls. The animals displayed similar responses to the full and fragmented circles, but used a different body pattern in response to the rotated and scattered fragments. This suggests that they completed the broken circles and recognized them as whole objects, whereas rotated and scattered fragments were instead interpreted as small, individual objects in their own right. We discuss our findings in the context of achieving accurate camouflage in the benthic shallow-water environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2386-2390
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1737
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2012


  • Cephalopod
  • Contour completion
  • Invertebrate vision
  • Non-human visual perception
  • Occlusion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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