Cuttlefish are mollusks and belong to the same family as squids and octopuses. Like squids, cuttlefish have internal shells. Cuttlefish have flat, oval bodies that range from 6 inches (15 centimeters) to more than 2 feet (60 centimeters) long. They’re usually anywhere from light gray to dark brown, and some even appear to change color in different light. Cuttlefish have a thin skin flap that runs along their sides, kind of like a frilly fin. Like their mollusk relatives, cuttlefish have eight arms; they also have two long tentacles with suckers near their mouths, although they can tuck their tentacles away when they want to.
Like squids and octopuses, cuttlefish propel backwards and shoot out an inky liquid when they sense a threat; it makes the water cloudy and confuses the mollusks’ predators. The cuttlefish’s inky liquid was once used by artists as the pigment sepia. Cuttlefish also are used as food and fish bait, and the cuttlebone is often given to caged birds as a mineral supplement.
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