IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute
 

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

IMIS

Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Printer-friendly version

The cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (Sepiidae, Cephalopoda) constructs cuttlebone from a liquid-crystal precursor
Checa, A.; Cartwright, J.H.E.; Sanchez Almazo, I.; Andrade, J.P.; Ruiz-Raya, F. (2015). The cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (Sepiidae, Cephalopoda) constructs cuttlebone from a liquid-crystal precursor. NPG Scientific Reports 5(11513): 13 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep11513
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Checa, A.
  • Cartwright, J.H.E.
  • Sanchez Almazo, I.
  • Andrade, J.P.
  • Ruiz-Raya, F.

Abstract
    Cuttlebone, the sophisticated buoyancy device of cuttlefish, is made of extensive superposed chambers that have a complex internal arrangement of calcified pillars and organic membranes. It has not been clear how this structure is assembled. We find that the membranes result from a myriad of minor membranes initially filling the whole chamber, made of nanofibres evenly oriented within each membrane and slightly rotated with respect to those of adjacent membranes, producing a helical arrangement. We propose that the organism secretes a chitin–protein complex, which self-organizes layer-by-layer as a cholesteric liquid crystal, whereas the pillars are made by viscous fingering. The liquid crystallization mechanism permits us to homologize the elements of the cuttlebone with those of other coleoids and with the nacreous septa and the shells of nautiloids. These results challenge our view of this ultra-light natural material possessing desirable mechanical, structural and biological properties, suggesting that two self-organizing physical principles suffice to understand its formation.

All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors