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The Wrath Of Cuttle


Apr 6, 2003
This was freaky.

Yesterday I was at NEAQ (New England Aquarium) with my new friend Sara. During my prior visit there with Olaf (ob), he'd gotten the attention of the Aquarium's two Sepia officinalis by holding up one, hand, dropping the fingers to vertical and trying out various movements. They didn't wave back, but they did gather round and didn't leave the glass until Olaf put the hand away. This time, I tried out the same thing, and quickly got the attention of the smaller of the two cuttles. It hovered behind the glass as I flashed cuttle-sign, became agitated when I put the hand away, then hovered again when I put the hand back up.

I was trying out raising fingers to mimic raising of different arm pairs, and was trying out raising my index finger to mimic arm 1, when I noticed that the other cuttle, which had been hovering at the back of the tank, was doing something odd. It had gone from pale and striped to a deep, deep red, blown its mantle and erected tubercles all over its skin. It swung around towards the glass and motored fast towards my hand and the other cuttle. I dropped my hand to bring my camera up and snapped one good shot of the charging cuttle. It swam to the one I'd been signaling and, without touching it, herded it towards the back of the tank, fading as it went but keeping the smaller one close by its side.

Whatever triggered it, the cuttle's wrath was impressive, even to a largish human safely behind thick glass. What the heck was going on? I said to Sara that it looked like a jealous rage. Was it?



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