The Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) has a unique way of camouflaging itself. Instead of mixing with the seabed, it changes the color of its skin and the way it moves its tentacles to take the shape of other sea creatures. They Can Do More Than Just Change Color Changing color is just one of the ways an octopus can transform its appearance. These ingenious creatures can also modify the texture of their skin to imitate rocks, sand, coral heads or other elements of the landscape by altering the papillae of their skin.
Cephalopods use their cloaking skills to communicate. Because they are known to be colorblind, cuttlefish, squid, and octopus are thought to send signals by creating and changing patterns. However, very little is known about how they communicate through the use of patterns. For a predator, an octopus is an unprotected package of proteins, which means that basically everyone in the ocean is out to get them, he said.
The intensity of this reflective layer is controlled by the upper chromatophores, providing the octopus with additional color options, including disruptive camouflage if desired. Octopuses also have machinery in their skin that helps them change their texture, adding another layer to their camouflage. The aforementioned abilities are made even more remarkable by the fine control that octopuses have over these individual elements. Although the mechanics of octopus camouflage are still being discovered, scientists understand much better why these incredible animals change color.
Octopuses can change their hue because they have tiny organ chromatophores that change color and are scattered all over the octopus's skin. Octopuses can make such rapid color changes because their brain is deeply interconnected with the skin's surface, Deravi said. Alternatively, a squid, octopus, or cuttlefish can turn white to create the illusion that it is larger than it actually is. An octopus, cuttlefish, or squid can throw black ink directly at a predator and then use darkness to hide their movement.
Camouflage is an important skill shared by almost all cephalopods, a group of marine invertebrates that also includes squid and cuttlefish, but octopuses have taken it to another level. When the muscles around the cell tighten, they stretch the pigment sac wider, which means more pigment is seen in the octopus's skin. However, octopuses tend to be very antisocial animals and rarely interact with other octopuses, so they have less need to communicate, he added. Other organs, known as iridophores and leukophores, in the skin of certain species of octopus can help enhance or alter the colors they produce.
Its skin matches the texture of the environment and the octopus moves to a position to blend better.
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