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.
Alexis is the science writer and editor for BrainFacts.org. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 with degrees in neuroscience and English.
Liu TH, Chiao CC. Mosaic Organization of Body Pattern Control in the Optic Lobe of Squids. The Journal of Neuroscience. 37 (4), 768-780 (2017).
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