"Flickering caustics and mesmerising prey: the unique visual ecology of cuttlefish" Dr. Martin J. How
Title: Flickering caustics and mesmerising prey: the unique visual ecology of cuttlefish
Cuttlefish have well adapted camera-type eyes that support acute polarization vision but are lacking in any ability to discriminate colour. Our research explores this unique visual system and how it is optimally adapted for life in shallow sea environments. One of the challenges faced by visual prey and predators in these environments is dynamic illumination in the form of caustic flicker. This is produced when sunlight is focussed by ripples on the water's surface, causing a fast-moving pattern of light to be cast on the sea floor. Here I will present a recent study in which we suggest that the polarization vision of cuttlefish could be used to mitigate the negative effects of this kind of visual noise. I'll go on to describe current work investigating a cuttlefish species that apparently exploits dynamic illumination in its hunting strategy, thereby 'mesmerising' its prey.