MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: How Does an Octopus change its skin colour?

Date: Tue Nov 16 05:55:47 1999
Posted By: Kimberly Sander, Faculty, Science Department, Guam Community College
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 942279197.Zo

Squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish (cephalopods) can change their skin color to match their surroundings and/or to reflect their mood. They possess specialized color pigment cells called chromatophores. Each chromatophore contains three colors which can blend in a variety of ways. Cephalopods can change color rapidly. That is because the color change is controlled by their nervous system. In many other animals, color change is controlled by hormones and takes a longer time to occur. In addition to rapid color changes, many cephalopods can alter their skin texture to closely match the texture of an irregular background. Specialized muscles enable them to do this.

For more information about cephalopods, visit these sites:

About Octopuses

The Cephalopod Page

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