There are five basic components that cephalopods use to camouflage themselves.
- Eyes- Take in visual information of their environment
- Brain- Organ that tells their body how to react
- Chromatophores- Cells underneath the skin that change color
- Muscles- Organs that expand and contract
- Papillae- Cells used to change the texture of their skin
The brain is interconnected with all of the other elements. The muscles are connected to the papillae and the chromatophores.
Control and Feedback
Light flows into the cephalopod's eyes. The visual information is sent across the nerves to the brain. The brain takes that information and determines which muscles need to be contracted or expanded to blend in with the environment. The muscles expand or contract changing the color of the chromatophores and the shape of the papillae. These then send light back to the eyes and the cephalopod determines if it needs to adjust anymore to blend in with the environment.
Function and Purpose
Cephalopods use this unique system to hide in plain sight from predators. Depending on the species there are other uses as well. Some types of octopus will create bright colors that stand out to warn animals approaching them that they may attack. Others use certain colors as a visual cue to attract a mate or ward off others of the same species and gender. Some species of octopus can use these techniques to imitate other types of animals to ward off potential predators.
(Images and Gif)