Evidence of episodic-like memory in cuttlefish

Curr Biol. 2013 Dec 2;23(23):R1033-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.10.021.


The recollection of past experiences allows us to recall what happened during a particular event, and where and when it occurred [1]. Since the first study on episodic-like memory in scrub-jays [2], there has been widespread acceptance of the idea that tests in animals should integrate the 'what', 'where' and 'when' components of a unique event that occurred in the past [3,4]. This is referred to as episodic-like memory rather than episodic memory per se, in acknowledgement of the lack of evidence for, or against, the phenomenological aspects that accompany episodic recollection in humans. So far, evidence for episodic-like memory has only been found in some birds and mammals. We show here that cuttlefish, cephalopod mollusks, keep track of what they have eaten, and where and how long ago they ate, in order to match their foraging behavior with the time of replenishing of different foods. Foraging in cuttlefish fulfils the criteria of 'what', 'where' and 'when' of unique events and thus provides behavioral evidence of episodic-like memory in an invertebrate.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Learning
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Mental Recall
  • Sepia / physiology*