Cuttlefish use polarization sensitivity in predation on silvery fish

Nadav Shashar, Roland Hagan, Jean G. Boal, Roger T. Hanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Cephalopods are sensitive to the linear polarization characteristics of light. To examine if this polarization sensitivity plays a role in the predatory behavior of cuttlefish, we examined the preference of Sepia officinalis when presented with fish whose polarization reflection was greatly reduced versus fish whose polarization reflection was not affected. Cuttlefish preyed preferably on fish with normal polarization reflection over fish that did not reflect linearly polarized light (n=24, χ2=17.3, P<0.0001), implying that polarization sensitivity is used during predation. We suggest that polarization vision is used to break the countershading camouflage of light-reflecting silvery fish. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalVision Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Camouflage
  • Cephalopods
  • Countershading
  • Polarized light
  • Radiance-matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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