Rare videos show captive squids change color to hide in plain sight

A team of scientists in Japan Make a video of the squid wandering through its environment, Very similar to octopus and squid To trade. While Squids are known to change color in the wildScientists conducted an experiment to confirm this camouflage capacity in the laboratory.

Like other cephalopods, squids have thousands of chromatophores — color-changing cells — under their skin. Chromatophores can swell and contract into They appear darker or brighter, allowing animals to Connect with each other and merge with their environment.

The types of oval cuttlefish the team studied were Sepioteuthis LesThis type of environmental camouflage has never been seen before. A team from the Graduate University of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology kept oval cuttlefish in captivity and watched the animals change color. their tank. The search was published Last week in Scientific Reports.

Ryota Nakajima, a biologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth and lead author of the paper, said at the Okinawa Institute. release† “If a substrate is important for squid to prevent predation, it suggests that an increase or decrease in squid populations is more related to coral health than we thought.”

There are several reasons why scientists don’t know in advance how far squid can reach Color changes with their environment. It can be difficult to breed squid in captivity, Unlike octopuses The squid, the cuttlefish tend to live in the open ocean, which means: There is not much substrate to mix with.

The oval squid species the team studied never showed any evidence of color change with their environment. According to Michael Fekion, an invertebrate zoologist with the Smithsonian Institution and NOAA: “Related species in the Atlantic, Sepioteuthis sepioidea [the Caribbean reef squid]often observed, There were many descriptions about their behaviour, chromatic patterns, etc., but it depends almost entirely on field observations.”

Oval squid.

“As far as I know, it is the first of its kind [of camouflage] Viccione said it was done under controlled lab conditions in a telephone conversation.

In its natural habitat off the coast of Okinawa, the oval squid They are light in color and reflect sunlight filtering through the ocean surface. But the squid, placed in a tank, was able to imitate local surfaces.

When researchers were cleaning squid In the tank, they realized that the animals’ colors change depending on whether they hovered over the algae-covered side of the tank or the clean side.

The researchers then created an experiment so they could document this color change, with the intention of making one side of the tank covered in algae and cleaning the other side. on algae the side, Cephalopods turned dark green, but when? Swim to the clean sideIt became semi-transparent.

“This effect is really astonishing. Zdeněk Lajbner, a biologist at the Okinawa Institute and co-author of the paper, said at the Institute: release† “It shows how little we know about these beautiful animals.”

often overwhelmed her Intelligent And the Cousins ​​of patientsSome squids finally reveal their secrets, at least in captivity. How this behavior might be different in the wild is another question to explore.

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