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Tiny Cuttlefish Babies Abound at Newport Aquarium

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Kentucky's Newport Aquarium has a bundle of new arrivals in the form of many baby Cuttlefish. What's a Cuttlefish? It belongs to the same class as squids and octopuses. Regardless of the word "fish" in their name, they are actually mollusks, living mostly in shallow waters -- though they are known to reside in deeper areas as well. They are found along the coasts of east and south Asia, western Europe, the Mediterranean, as well as all coasts of Africa and Australia. 

Cuttlefish come from eggs, the cases of which progress from dark and opaque to light and nearly clear as they approach hatching stage.

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For keepers, seeing the newly hatched cuttlefish eating (below) is very important, because it is the main marker that the babies are healthy and will grow. One of the small fish they eat as babies is brine shrimp.

Once fully grown, their preferred diet consists of crabs and fish. They have the ability to use camoflage to sneak up on their prey. When they get close, their eight arms open up and shoot out two long feeding tentacles. On the end of each is a sucker-covered pad that attaches to prey and pulls it toward them.

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Photo Credit: Dr. Jerry Carpenter

See more Cuttlefish pictures after the fold:

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To get an idea of how tiny these animals are right now, these netted nurseries are where the baby Cuttles grow after they hatch. The light brown flecks are the babies.

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