Largely shell-less relatives of clams and snails, the marine mollusks in the class Cephalopoda—Greek for “head-foot”—are colorful creatures of many-armed dexterity, often inky self-defense, and highly evolved cognition. They are capable of learning, of retaining information—and of rapid decision-making to avoid predators and find prey. They have eyes and senses rivaling those of vertebrates like birds and fishes, they morph texture and body shape, and they change color faster than a chameleon. In short, they captivate us.
A treasure trove of scientific fact and visual explanation, this worldwide illustrated guide to cephalopods offers a comprehensive review of these fascinating and mysterious underwater invertebrates—from the lone hunting of the octopus, to the social squid, and the prismatic skin signaling of the cuttlefish.
Roger Hanlon is a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University. He is coauthor of Cephalopod Behavior. Mike Vecchione is director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries National Systematics Laboratory and an adjunct faculty member at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Louise Allcock is a lecturer in zoology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, president of the Cephalopod International Advisory Council, and coordinator of the International Union for Conservation of Nature red data list for Cephalopoda.