Cephalopods are a classification of sea animals that consist of octopus, squids and cuttlefishes. These sea creatures are known to be deaf. How do they communicate with one another?
Cephalopods – Squids, Octopus and Cuttlefishes are known for their Camouflaging
Octopus and cuttlefish can change their skin texture. Only animal known to have fine control over its skin texture (Bumpiness) They match their skin dimensionality by sight(visual perception) and not by touch.
These animals are colorblind but are able to color match patterns.
The squid can change its predominant skin color. The chromatophores are constantly twitching and active because cephalopods with squishy bodies rely on camouflage as their main protection from predators.
The squid can not only manipulate its skin color but its pattern as well.
The patterns are classified into 3 modes:
Uniform : Little or no contrast within the pattern
Model: Small scale light and dark splotches
Disruptive: To interfere with the recognition of what the animal is
They flash the particular pattern based on the visual cues it encounters from the environment. These changes can take place in fractions of a second.
At 8:00 – 9:00min mark of video ^
Chromatophores are controlled by minute muscles. With a little flexing, a cephalopod can flash rippling bands of color. Any sort of excitement, danger, desire, aggression, passion and expression, and their skin lights up.
For creatures with no vocal abilities, they communicate in a language of light and color.
Cuttlefish can also change texture like the octopus.
At 27:30 – 28:30min mark of video ^
The cuttlefish communicate when they mate. The male cuttlefish is able to light up their skin to flash and ripple with aggression when facing other males. Their control is so subtle that they can isolate and flex the side facing the opposing male. The other side communicates a solid and dependable side to any nearby females. Their complex communication escalates into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Squids are masters of the hypnotic color changes when hunting. They use the rapid pulses and flashes of their skin to distract prey, making it an easy target.
Cephalopods are masters of disguise – Their visual wizardry fascinates scientists.
Cuttlefish produce their visual pyrotechnics with its specialized layers of skin cells:
The first and topmost layer is filled with thousands of pigmented cells(chromatophores) that give most of the patterning and remarkable transformations.
These chromatophores come in 4 colors: Yellow, red, brown, blacks layers
The center of each chromatophore contains an elastic sac full of pigment, rather like a tiny balloon. If you squeezed a dye-filled balloon, the color would be pushed to the top, stretching out the surface and making the color appear brighter. A complex array of nerves and muscles controls whether the sac is expanded or contracted and, when the sac expands, the color becomes more visible. Each chromatophore can expand up to 15x its diameter.
Besides chromatophores, some cephalopods also have iridophores and leucophores.
The iridophores are iridescent reflective cells, stacks of reflective discs, that act as prisms that split the surrounding light and cover the octopus with blues and greens. They also create iridescent silvers and golds.
Leucophores mirror back the colors of the environment, making the animal less conspicuous.
With a white base, the cuttlefish palette is complete; no limit to the colors they can show on their skin.
Eyes visualize and sends info directly to skin. The skin can change texture as well, pushing up bumps on their skin.
The most obvious reason such a soft-bodied animal would change color is to hide from predators—and octopuses are very good at this. They can change not only their coloring, but also the texture of their skin to match rocks, corals and other items nearby. They do this by controlling the size of projections on their skin (called papillae), creating textures ranging from small bumps to tall spikes. The result is a disguise that makes them nearly invisible.
Camouflaged communication – the secret signals of the squid
Based on the documentary above, the cuttlefish is only able to camouflage by mapping what is underneath it.
The octopus not only uses the smokescreen of ink as a visual weapon, it tastes bad, making predators avoid them.
The Humboldt squid(Dosidicus gigas) are voracious eaters and attack almost anything they see. This “Jumbo Squid” and the “Red Devil,” is known for its flashing colors. Their skin flashing like neon signs as they feed. This flashing is suspected to be a means of communication—but no one knows what the squid are trying to say.
The flashing of colors and skin manipulation is similar to human blushing.
The cuttlefish is color blind: uses tones (black and white) to camouflage.
How does the cephalopod camouflage when color blind? Done with iridophores and leucophores.
Male Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea) turn red to attract females and white to repel other males—and can even split the coloration of their bodies down the middle to attract a female on one side and repel a male on the other.
Californian 2-spot Octopus
The skin of the 2-spot octopus contains opsins, light-sensing proteins that are associated with our eyes. These proteins can trigger the color cells in the skin and turns the octopus into stealth mode.
Amazing animal superpowers
The mimic octopus can mimic up to 15 creatures(known predators).
It tries to act like its predator’s predator, an example would be acting as a sea snake to scare damsel fish(predator).
Blue Ring Octopus
While resting, the background color is a uniform gray to beige, with large, light brown patches or maculae — thus the name H. maculosa. On their dorsal mantle, 10 maculae form a pattern of brown chevrons. Smaller patches dot their web and base of their arms. All eight arms are marked with approximately 10 evenly spaced brown patches that form bands running down their arms. Their blue rings are usually not visible in animals at rest. When the octopus is agitated, the brown patches darken dramatically, and iridescent blue rings or clumps of rings appear and pulsate within the maculae. Typically 50-60 blue rings cover the dorsal and lateral surfaces of their mantle. This species of octopus flashes blue rings to warn predators. If engaged with other blue rings in a fight, it swells its head and try to look bigger than the other.