How to kill and eviscerate a cuttlefish without using your hands


You’ve got to be impressed with the cephalopod-butchering skills of this dolphin. Especially be sure to check out the gallery of grisly photos.

I know, I like cephalopods. But I eat them, too!

Comments

  1. firemancarl says

    Ugh, I have been wondering what happened to our cuttlefish, and now *sniff* I know…. :-(

  2. Wowbagger says

    “It could just be that Australian dolphins are smart,” she says.

    Ha! Suck it, non-Australian dolphins.

  3. LisaJ says

    Wow, that’s pretty impressive. A lot of work too, and puts my ‘laborious’ breakfast routine into perspective. I guess I should stop whining to myself now about how much effort it will take to walk to my laboratory’s kitchen to boil some water for my oatmeal.

  4. JCsuperstar says

    Is the “shaking of the cuttlefish” step skipped if it releases its ink prior to death?

  5. says

    Ahem.

    A dolphin may wish
    For a cuttlefish dish
    In the waters with old Davy Jones;
    See, they find cuttlefishes
    Are truly delicious
    Except for the cuttlefish bones.
    They also may think
    That the cuttlefish ink
    Is unpleasant, or nasty, or mean;
    We infer this because
    In a Gulf in South Oz
    They’ve developed a dolphin cuisine!

    Etc.

  6. says

    Hmph. “Perfect Cuttlefish Meal” indeed. I can think of plenty better meals for this cuttlefish…

    A dolphin may wish
    For a cuttlefish dish
    In the waters with old Davy Jones;
    See, they find cuttlefishes
    Are truly delicious
    Except for the cuttlefish bones.
    They also may think
    That the cuttlefish ink
    Is unpleasant, or nasty, or mean;
    We infer this because
    In a Gulf in South Oz
    They’ve developed a dolphin cuisine!

    [more at http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/01/perfect-cuttlefish-meal-or-perhaps-not.html%5D

    Dang. I see Blake beat me to it.

  7. Lotharloo says

    Does anyone know good resources on dolphin intelligence? How do they stack up against our ancestors in terms of intelligence? I would really appreciate any pointers!

  8. David Marjanović, OM says

    is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

    I don’t know of evidence to the contrary…

  9. J.D. says

    Hmm, something I didn’t know. Cuttlefish have bones? Never thought of cephalapods as having internal bones, learn something new everyday….

  10. Prometheus says

    Cuttlefish control thousands of chromatophores .

    Mollusks have ganglia and nerves.

    If your definition of pain is associated with a central nervous system alone, sure they suffer.

    If your definition of pain is associated with regulation by a cerebral cortex and limbic system then no.

    I suppose the answer is they hurt but not the same way you and I do. So sympathy is probably better directed at the dolphin (or PZ) finding something delicious than the cuttlefish having a bad day.

  11. Hugh M. says

    J.D.
    Not exactly bone in the skeletal sense. I think more of a rigid, porous flotation device. They wash up on the beaches all around S.A. and are often used as chew toys? for parrots and the like. We used to collect them and crumble them into our chicken feed as a calcium source.

  12. Sven DiMilo says

    It’s not really a “bone.” It’s an internalized shell homologue, made of calcium carbonate instead of phosphate. They used to sell them at pet shops for parakeets to mutilate. Calcium supplement, I guess.

  13. windy says

    Slightly related: is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

    If you mean clams and other bivalves, they don’t have anything we’d call a brain, just a few ganglia, so probably their capacity for suffering is limited (but maybe that’s just our brain-chauvinist assumption). But boiling is not necessarily crueler than other ways of killing them.

  14. littlejohn says

    As a journalist (yeah, I know you all hate me), I’d like to thank you for spelling grisly correctly. Honestly, it’s right up there with accommodate, supersede and minuscule among words virtually everyone misspells (add “misspell”)
    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

  15. JohnnieCanuck says

    Actually, thanks littlejohn. I enjoyed your post.

    I’m not the speller I used to be. To much exposure to incorrect spelling in the print media. Or so I tell myself. Ongoing loss of memory cells might be more accurate.

  16. Tex says

    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

    Not wrath, really, just pity. As Andrew Jackson said, “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.’

  17. Tex says

    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

    Not wrath, really, just pity. As Andrew Jackson said, “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.’

  18. Happy Trollop says

    littlejohn@31

    You’re not alone and I don’t hate you. I’m also one of those spelling obsessives whom non-pedants regard with contempt. In fact, I once sent a finger-wagging letter to the editor of my small town newspaper for describing a local discovery as “grizzly”. Funny enough, that letter never appeared on the op/eds…

    I get my comeuppance often though, because of my terrible typing skillz. Yes, yes; that’s it. It’s poor typing!

  19. Strider says

    Poor spelling is my bête noire and I know it’s superficial of me but I can’t help it. So I’m right up there with you pedants; not that I’d go defacing historical signs or anything…
    BTW, I’m SO glad we’re back to anonymous commenting!

  20. recovering catholic says

    Hugh M.: And note that in the final drawing the cuttlebone is in fact shown floating up towards the sea’s surface…

  21. Sven DiMilo says

    Cool. I didn’t know that cuttlebone was such a flexible buoyancy-control organ. See if this link works; or else feed “cuttlebone float” to the google, find p 247 of Jurd’s “Instant Notes in Animal Biology” via google books, and read the last full paragraph; very cool. It’s not clear to me, though, how the spaces within the “bone” get filled with gaseous nitrogen. Schmidt-Nielsen probably talks about it someplace.

  22. 'Tis Himself says

    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

    Since I am erudite to the point of being pedantic, I can speel the english gooder then most peepul.

  23. Wowbagger says

    I await your wrath.

    As long as you’re pronouncing it as if it were spelled ‘roth’ (like the actor Tim, the writer Philip, the screenwriter Eric or the director Eli) and not as if it rhymes with ‘math’.

  24. pablo says

    This just in from Ingrid Newkirk… Cephalopods are now called “Sea Bunnies”.

    How do you feel about eating them now PZ?

  25. kamaka says

    The foray into “how did they figure out how to do that?’ is pertinent, but I’m hardly suprised. Lot’s of critters (crows, parrots, octopi) have problem solving skills.

    This is conjecture, but I would think this trick is “common knowledge”. I’ll bet that cuttlebone doesn’t go through cooperatively.

    accommodate, miniscule, success, pertinent, existence

    grisly=fail

  26. Hugh M. says

    Littlejohn
    ^^ Does it still count as a misspelling if I recognise the mistake and correct it with a dictionary?

    Sven
    Thank you, that’s an interesting link. I had noticed that the one end had a brownish stain, but had not known why. Excellent.

    Lurker
    ^^ For a moment there, I thought that was a link to Freddy the friendly dolphin.

  27. kamaka says

    Does it still count as a misspelling if I recognise the mistake and correct it with a dictionary?

    Imho,meh sezz noes.

  28. Jim Thomerson says

    I’ve only caught cephalopods to eat on one ocasion. I rolled them in a mixture of flour and cornmeal and fried them up in hot lard. I’d like to see dolphin duplicate that feat!

    On dolphin intelligence. There is a science fiction story where advanced aliens visit earth. They are pleasant and congenial, but they are actually here to visit the dolphins.

  29. Andyo says

    Uh-oh. This might be a sign before the “so long, and thanks for all the fish” bit. Anybody see any big yellow spaceships lately?

  30. Wowbaqger says

    Anybody see any big yellow spaceships lately?

    Appearing with a bang that drove your ears six feet into your skull?

  31. Crudely Wrott says

    The dolphin exemplifies the level of skill that I, and, I am sure all of you, seek to obtain. I work with simple tools, primarily my limbs and manipulating parts, to extract from my surroundings something of value. While the dolphin does it for individual survival (and so do I, as a matter of necessity), the use of inherent talent and learned skills is a good bet, for cetaceans and humans and all those other critters too.

    Well, at least my customers appreciate my talents, and the fact that I don’t eviscerate and eat them. I try to leave them happier than they were before. Does that make me like Jesus?

  32. Peter Ashby says

    Actually Littlejohn those are easy, especially accommodate since it has to accommodate two double letters. But then I was a spelling prodigy in my yoof.

  33. Peter Ashby says

    Actually Littlejohn those are easy, especially accommodate since it has to accommodate two double letters. But then I was a spelling prodigy in my yoof.

  34. Peter Ashby says

    Actually Littlejohn those are easy, especially accommodate since it has to accommodate two double letters. But then I was a spelling prodigy in my yoof.

  35. Ragutis says

    Posted by: Jackal Author Profile Page | January 29, 2009 9:26 AM

    Slightly related: is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

    If you mean lobster or crab, sticking them in the freezer is the way to go. If you’re going to split a lobster, say for grilling, then about 30 mins should “anesthetize” the bug. Take it out and if there’s no movement, quickly split it head end first. If you’re going to boil or steam, leave it in the freezer for closer to an hour to ensure it doesn’t become responsive before death.

    Pain? Suffering? First, that would probably require a discussion settling on a definition of “pain”. Second, you’ll get debate on both sides. The lobster industry will cite studies that conclude the nervous systems are far too simple. PETA will provide some that equate every boiling with the torment Jeanne D’Arc or Giordano Bruno felt. It’s doubtfully going to be anything like what we would experience as “suffering”, but it’ll certainly register as a negative stimulus to be escaped or avoided.

    Regardless, pain or negative stimulus… the kindest thing would be to render them insensible with some time in the freezer before they go under the knife or in the pot.

  36. Andyo says

    Ugh, “bugs” is exactly right. I call hypocrite anyone who eats sea crustaceans, but are not even willing to try insects. Or at least land crustaceans. Hypocrites, I say!

  37. Sven DiMilo says

    I like Ragutis’s advice. All studies of which I’m aware suggest that cold knocks out neural synapses first. No synaptic transmission, nothing even analogous to “pain.”

  38. Phill says

    I don’t see why any living creature should be killed and
    eaten Why can’t they be left alone They are not harming
    you It is very selfish and is not necessary
    There is plenty of plant life on this planet which is
    more than enough for any person to eat
    Animals should be respected and not abused or used
    in any way