Cuttlefish skin is a powerful rendering device, capable of producing extraordinary changes in visual appearance over a broad range of temporal scales. This unique ability is typically associated with camouflage, however cuttlefish often produce skin patterns that do not appear connected with the surrounding environment, such as fast large-scale fluctuations with wave-like characteristics. Little is known about the functional significance of these dynamic patterns. In this study, we develop novel tools for analyzing pattern dynamics, and we demonstrate their utility for detecting changes in feeding state that occur without concomitant changes in sensory stimulation. Under these conditions, we find that the dynamic properties of specific pattern components differ for different feeding states, despite no measurable change in the overall expression of those components. These dynamic changes are therefore not detectable by conventional analyses focusing on pattern expression, requiring analytical tools specifically targeted to pattern dynamics.

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