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How Octopuses And Squids Change Colors?

How Octopuses And Squids Change Colors

When it comes to changing colors, one animal that usually comes to mind of most people is a Chameleon.

However, certain species of Octopuses and squids come under the category of Cephalopods, and they have this unique ability to change their colors and are even known as the Chameleon of the Sea.

Presence Of Chromatophores

Squids and Octopuses have a large number of chromatophores (usually in thousands) just under the surface of their skins. These chromatophores are responsible for the ability to change colors.

How do Chromatophores work?

There is an elastic sac that may be colored black, orange, brown, or red right at the center of each chromatophore. When this sac is stretched by the squids or Octopuses, a specific color gathers at one spot, and it overpowers all other colors and hence the color of the animal is changed. Octopuses and squids can stretch the elastic sac by using a system that consists of nerves and muscles.

Presence Of Iridophores And Leucophores

Various octopuses and squids also have Iridophores and Leucophores present in their bodies. Iridophores consists of plates that are reflecting in nature, and they may help to change into several bright colors. Similarly, Leucophores help to mimic the surrounding colors, and the animal is easily camouflaged. These two work differently as compared to chromatophores, but they perform the job just as well. This color-changing ability gives the Octopuses and squids an edge in the ultra-competitive sea life.

Why Do Squids And Octopuses Change Colors

There can be several reasons behind this phenomenon.

  • As we know, sea life can be very harsh at times as there are a lot of predators out there in the sea. This ability to change colors helps octopuses and squids to save themselves from certain predators.

  • Some species also use this ability to camouflage into the surroundings to catch some prey for themselves.

  • This changing of colors is also used as a mode of communication.


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