Hiding in Plain Sight

  • Published13 Feb 2017
  • Reviewed13 Feb 2017
  • Author Alexis Wnuk
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Oval squid swimming in water, blending in to it's environment.
Liu, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2017.

Cephalopods — octopus, squid, and cuttlefish — hide from predators and communicate with other members of their species in a unique way: by altering the color and texture of their skin. Should a predator come along, they quickly survey their environment and select an appropriate disguise; neurons running from the brain then contract and expand pigment-containing sacks in the skin to adjust the skin’s appearance. Researchers studying the oval squid (pictured above) revealed how the brain areas controlling this shape-shifting ability are organized.

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