Accommodation in the cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)

Frank Schaeffel, Christopher J Murphy, Howard C. Howland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We have studied natural accommodation in the eye of six specimens of cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) as they were fed with fish and shrimp. Using infrared photoretinoscopy, we observed (1) that the resting refractive state of the cuttlefish was emmetropic or slightly hyperopic, (2) that accommodation took place only a fraction of a second before a strike and (3) that accommodation focused selectively only in the frontal visual field while no change in refraction could be measured in the lateral field of view. Accommodation was bilateral and amounted to approximately 5 diopters (the reciprocal of the focal length expressed in meters). Simultaneously, the eyes converged. It appears that, as in most teleost fishes, accommodation in the cuttlefish involves a movement of the crystalline lens perpendicular to the axis of the eye. In histological sections, we observed the position and arrangement of the ciliary muscles, confirming earlier anatomical descriptions, and developed a model of how accommodation could be achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3127-3134
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Accommodation
  • Cuttlefish
  • Histology
  • Photoretinoscopy
  • Physiological optics
  • Sepia officinalis
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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