These newborn cuttlefish may appear harmless – but they are set to change the face of modern warfare.

The youngsters were born at Brighton Sea Life Centre last month and will now be handed over to university researchers.

Cuttlefish, which are part of the same ecological family as squids and octopus, can change their skin patterns to camouflage themselves in their surroundings.

The revelation has caught the attention of defence bosses who are |keen to adapt their camouflage ability for use on tanks and other war vehicles.

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University of Sussex experts will now carry out a series of studies on the sea creatures – with those in Whitehall watching on closely.

Neuro-scientist, Dr Daniel Osorio, will lead the research.

He said: “If the process can be simulated by computers it’s not unfeasible that one day computer-linked cameras mounted on military vehicles |could feed continuous data to colour-shifting receptors on the vehicles’ skin.”

Research carried out by his team has already shown cuttlefish can accurately mimic different shades of light and dark while resting on a variety of surfaces.

Such is their skill, they can adapt to even the microscopic pattern of the tiniest grain of sand.

Brighton Sea Life Centre curator, Carey Duckhouse, added: “They adopt the pattern most effective for hiding from specific predators.

“They are genuinely amazing and fascinating creatures.”

She explained the new cuttlefish are the centre’s first-ever second generation offspring – with their parents also born at the Madeira Drive centre.

She added: “We usually get eggs brought in from the wild by fishermen who find them attached to lobster-pots or anchor ropes in the summer months.

“We already have about 30 babies from eggs that came to us that way, but our latest babies are from eggs laid by our own captive reared adults, which is really exciting.”

The cuttlefish are set to be rotated regularly to allow a number to be on display at the Sea Life Centre.

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