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Science

Deep-sea Camouflage Tactics Revealed 61

Posted by timothy
from the red-state-vs.-blue-state dept.
Honken writes "A recent study by scientists at Duke University has found that transparent deep-sea octopuses turn red when exposed to blue light similar to what predators emit, allowing them to hide using both transparency and by absorbing the wavelengths of the blueish light emitted by deep-sea predators. The Register quickly made the not-so-obvious connection to Kindles and squid video playback, whereas Discovery News reports on slightly more useful yet exotic applications, such as fishing nets that are invisible only to the species that it intends to catch."
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Deep-sea Camouflage Tactics Revealed

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  • by squidflakes (905524) on Monday November 14, 2011 @05:58PM (#38053646) Homepage

    Oh.. well..

    The squid's brain is in five lobes, two lobes being oversized at attached via the single huge super-neuron to the corresponding eye. The other three lobes are typically used for running autonomous squid functions and don't light up much under MRI. The optic lobes however, are a bit like GPUs. The squid uses them for image processing but there are also hints of some higher order stuff going on. Not consciousness as we would recognize it, but something.

    Fun Cephalopod Fact!: The esophagus passes directly through the center of the brain. Cephalopod brains are radial, but not radially symmetric.

    Did you know that squid skin can be activated by electricity? The chromataphores are just sacks of pigment with muscles attached, and their displayed hue and saturation values are controlled by the expansion and contraction of these muscles. As the sack gets stretched, the pigment spreads out allowing more light to pass through. As the sack contracts, the concentration of the pigment rises and more light is blocked.

    Cephalopods also have irideophores which reflect only the blue/green (short) wavelengths of light. In reef squid, there is a higher number of these cells around the eyes giving that species their characteristic "eye-makeup" look. Strangely enough, when squid display eyeshadow patterns, it is usually the females and it is usually a mating related display showing at least mild interest. Male squid are capable of this display, but rarely show it. One thing we observed is that "sneaker males" which are beta-male squid that use subterfuge to mate with available females rather than alpha-squid strength and aggression displays, will often display eyeshadow and saddle patterns to convince alpha-males that they are, in fact, females. Then, when the alpha-male is busy being aggressive toward other male squid, the sneaker male will mate with the largest female they can find.

    Most squid that school are predominately matriarchal. The larger the female the more desirable she is as a mate. Particularly large female squid can have harems of a dozen males or more.

    Male squid that aren't good at mating, or are too pushy, or too aggressive, or aren't aggressive enough, sometimes get eaten immediately after the mating.

    I know far too much about squid sex.

  • by squidflakes (905524) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:00PM (#38055750) Homepage

    Ahhh, good ole 'Dream of the Fisherman's Wife.' The text around the picture is hilarious. It reads like "chu chu, oh you naughty octopus. I am not supposed to be doing this."

    So, pretty much the same dialog you would hear or read in anything involving tentacles.

    I was going to get this whole piece tattooed on my back, but then I sobered up and got something even better.

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