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Notes On the Behavior of Idiosepius Pygmaeus (Cephalopoda; Idiosepiidae)

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Several individuals of Idiosepius pygmaeus were seen in the harbor of Koror, Belau, in southwestern Micronesia. Two adult females were captured and studied in the laboratory. They were found to be diurnal and non-gregarious. They attached to walls and other vertical or oblique surfaces; but they avoided bottoms. They appeared to feed on small invertebrates by two different methods. Occasionally, they struck at prey with their tentacles. More often, they nibbled along walls. This combination of characters is distinctive among cephalopods. The observed individuals of pygmaeus also showed a variety of ritualized behavior patterns, special postures and color changes concerned with communication. These were conventional rather than distinctive. Perhaps, like the homologous performances of other cephalopods, they are designed to be seen (or overlooked) more often in interspecific than intraspecific contexts. Idiosepius has been grouped with the true cuttlefish, Sepia spp., sepiolids such as Euprymna, and a variety of other forms, in a possibly heterogeneous order "Sepiida". This classification may be dubious. The ritualized behavior patterns of pygmaeus are not more similar to those of cuttlefishes than to those of squids, or even octopuses.

Affiliations: 1: (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panama


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