|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Hello Richard, As far as I know, there isn't a specific name for an octopus' shooting ink. We usually just call it "inking." Inking serves several purposes: (1) it distracts potential predators, allowing the animal to jet away; (2) it provides a "smoke screen" to hide behind; and (3) it may confuse the chemoreceptors of predators. Of the major groups of cephalopods, only tbe nautiluses don't use ink. The ink of the cuttles (genus Sepia) is a dark brown pigment that is used by artists. The squids are the master artists of the invertebrate world - they can actually shoot ink in specific shapes, usually of smaller prey items, that would help distract its own predators. Cephalopods are fascinating creatures, and one of my favorite invertebrate groups. If you want to learn more about them, here's the link to a wonderful site with lots of information and some excellent photos: http://www.dal.ca/~ceph/TCP/ Allison J. Gong Mad Scientist
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