MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What is the defense mechanism an octopus uses to spray its ink called?

Date: Mon Dec 11 19:30:35 2000
Posted By: Allison J. Gong, Graduate student
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 976130264.Zo

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:

Allison J. Gong
Mad Scientist

Current Queue | Current Queue for Zoology | Zoology archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.