How Octopuses Make Themselves Invisible
Small pigment-filled cells, called chromatophores, and reflective ones called iridophores and leucophores, in the skin of most octopuses allow them to create nuanced patterns of color, luminosity and even harness polarized light to fool other ocean life.
But the information they use to craft the overall effect has been debated. Do they survey the whole area in their proximity and incorporate the general hues and patterns into their skin display, or do they pick out just a few nearby landmarks for a more precise match?
A new paper, published online last month in PLoS ONE, suggests that octopuses do focus on a limited selection of nearby objects in order to determine their disguise.