Insane in the Chromatophores

Want to know what it's like to see without eyes? Ask your friendly neighborhood cephalopod.

While seeing without eyes might sound super weird, it's an entirely possible and daily activity for cephalopods like squid and octopus. While they don't pick up on visual details, proteins throughout the squid and octopus skin called opsins are sensative to light, allowing the creature to adapt it's personal wardrobe to the surroundings. If you've seen a squid change color, you know it happens quite rapidly and is an entirely natural tool for camoflaging themselves from predatores. The opsins take in the surroundings, and the chromatophores in the cephalopod's skin reacts with a corresponding color. But get this, according to a recent article in Popular Science, octopus skin still was able to perform this seemingly supernatural trick when it wasn't even attached to the octopus! That's right, tissue samples still danced around to light stimulus as if they were still happily connected to their eight legged home body. So, so awesome.

And now, we invite you to enjoy this brilliant spectacle of nature and science to the tune of Insane in the Membrane by the incomparable Cyprus Hill. 

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