Image: Culum Brown
We frown at two-faced people, but when it comes to cuttlefish, being two-faced makes smart evolutionary sense. Culum Brown of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, discovered that a male cuttlefish would display two different markings when courting a female:
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Talk about showing your feminine side. On one flank, a courting male cuttlefish looks like a normal male of his species, with tigerlike stripes extending horizontally down his skin. But on the other, he resembles a female, displaying marbled browns and whites. He needs the male pattern to attract the female, while the female motif keeps competing males from fighting him. That’s scientists’ best guess for now, at least, to explain the devious cuttlefish behavior that they’ve observed and reported for the first time.