Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium is celebrating the arrival of more than a dozen baby cuttlefish this week.

Over 14 of the cuttlefish, each just over a couple of centimetres long, were born from eggs laid earlier this year. This is the eighth year in a row the aquarium have successfully reared cuttlefish.

The cuttlefish is closely related to squid, nautilus and octopus. Like their eight-legged cousins they can change colour and even body shape to match their moods and escape predators by releasing a cloud of ink.

From the moment of hatching, young cuttlefish can display at least 13 different types of body pattern.

Blue Reef’s David Waines said: "We’ve already got more than a dozen babies and more are on their way. Although they’re each only a centimetre long you can already see them changing colours.

“For most people their only experience of cuttlefish is the remains of their hard internal shells washed up on the beach.

"They’re natural born predators and are able to kill and eat a shrimp twice their own length on the very day they hatch.” he added.

A fringe of fins around their bodies, known as the ‘skirt’ allow the cuttlefish to hover motionless, but they can also move at high speed by expelling a jet of water from a funnel on the underside of their heads.

Specially-adapted skin cells allow them to rapidly change colour and shape. Scientists believe they use these abilities both to communicate to each other and to confuse their prey as they attack.

They catch their prey by lying in ambush, using their prehensile feeding tentacles to shoot out and grab hold of small animals such as crabs or small fish. They instinctively always attack a crab from behind to avoid the claws.

Cuttlefish can be found in the shallow waters along the English Channel, throughout the Mediterranean Sea, down the Atlantic Ocean, following the West African coastline to its southernmost tip.