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Science Wednesdays: Kings of Camouflage

Tue, 08/13/2013 - 11:29am -- WCVE

Cuttlefish are some of the strangest animals on the planet. The shape-shifting creatures can hypnotize their prey, impersonate the opposite sex and even kill with lightning fast speed. More accomplished masters of disguise than any chameleon, they have a remarkable ability to change skin color — even shape — to blend into most any background.

They have the largest brain-to-body ratio of all the invertebrates. But are they capable of learning and remembering complex tasks? With beautiful underwater footage and in-depth expert interviews, NOVA gets up close and personal with these bizarre and amazing animals.

Watch NOVA: Kings of Camouflage Wednesday, August 14 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS.

NOVA voyages beneath the waves to meet a bizarre but remarkable creature. It has eight sucker-covered arms growing out of its head, three hearts pumping its blue blood and a doughnut-shaped brain. Its most striking trait is an uncanny ability to change color and shape to blend in with seaweed and rocks. Thanks to a highly complex brain, this animal has smarts, too.

Despite its name, the cuttlefish is not a fish but a cousin of the more familiar octopus and squid. Together, they are a part of the class of marine mollusks called cephalopods, or “headfooters.” These are soft-bodied animals without a protective outer shell or spine. Cuttlefish intrigue researchers with their splendid displays, their intelligence and social behavior