Cephalopods (squid, octopus, cuttlefish) can change the color of their skin by contracting/relaxing muscles controlling pigment granules in their chromatophore organ. Chromataphores can be classified into subclasses based on colors- specifically for this blog post we will talk about iridophores (reflective/iridescent) ones.
A recent study found that electrical stimulation of the nerves in the skin of squid change the reflectance/color of the iridophores ranging across the color spectrum. But did you know- SQUID ARE COLORBLIND?! So why do they display so many beautiful colors?
It’s a question scientists ponder all the time- how do squid and octopus see a color in black and white which is actually red and brown- and their skin turns the perfect color that we see? It’s magic I guess (or an awesome evolutionary feat).
The iridophores are made up of complex stacked plates that cause the interference with the reflectance of light. To learn more about iridophores in the skin of squid, scientists took advantage of a dead longfin inshore squid’s skin. The scientists traced the nerves of the skin and stimulated them electrically- see what they saw- CLICK THE LINK BELOW:
The scientists found they could instigate progressive changes in skin color from reddish (which is the color when the chromatophores are at-rest) all the way across the color spectrum to blue. Iridophores were found to change much more slowly than the quick changes seen in most other chromatophores.
Yet again, the cephalopod family adds something new to the list of why I love them. Here’s another cool video I found on YouTube pertaining to chromatophores in squid skin- ENJOY!
Reason number 13434562.4 why I don’t eat squid or octopus, and be it any animal that is still alive on my dinner plate….
While a woman was dining in Korea, she took a bite of the partially cooked squid upon her plate. Apparently, the squid had other plans than being consumed.
And lo and behold, the cephalopod still alive with their natural animal instincts to fulfill their biological mission in life (TO REPRODUCE!) injected the woman’s tongue with his sperm packets.
The woman reportedly experienced a “pricking and foreign-body sensation” while chewing the squid and spat it out back onto her plate. Can you imagine?! UGH. She eventually went to the hospital because she became enthralled with severe pain and claimed that several “small, squirming” creepy crawlies were in her mouth.
The doctor found 12 small white spindle-shaped, bug-like sperm packets injected into the woman’s tongue and cheek. I found a good photograph online showing what squid sperm packets look like up close..feast your eyes!
Moral of the story, if you DO eat raw squid (shame on you..sorry it’s the Marine Scientist and cephalopod lover in me) then you should remove their internal organs, or boil them long enough to kill its sperm bags. Or let them be free and reproduce naturally with their own species 🙂
ON a totally different note, my friend Rachel who writes the blog LoveFitLife asked me to be a guest blogger! I have never guest blogged for another blogger before, so of course I was super excited and definitely all in!
HOORAY- A story on SQUID! One of my favorite marine creatures. (Please no chit chat about how delicious you think calamari is…)
A recent study concluded that squid ink samples from a 160-million-year-old giant squid is EXACTLY the same as the ink found in squid today. WOW. With no evolution to be concluded from this evidence for the components of squid ink… I guess that means their ink has been doing the trick the right way for millions of years. Good job cephalopods!
The ink sacs of 2 giant squid fossils found in England 2 years ago was compared to today’s squid ink components. Melanin, a substance that gives hair, skin, and certain other things color, is the primary ingredient of squid ink- explaining why their ink is so dark in color.
John Simon, a chemistry teacher and executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia stated,
“Though the other organic components of the squid we studied are long gone, we’ve discovered through a variety of research methods that the melanin has remained in a condition that could be studied in exquisite detail.”
It’s pretty amazing that those ink sacs remained intact for millions of years. Phenomenal actually! This is such a fantastic scientific discovery. It’s very rare that animals don’t evolve in one way or another over millions and millions of years- guess their escape ink system was right on the dot when they were created. From the Jurassic age until now…high five to squids for doing something right!
If you have tentacles, watch out, male deep-sea squid will pounce on you!
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has recorded 2 decades worth of deep-sea squid mating footage. And what they’ve come to acknowledge is that male squid don’t have an issue with mating with both female and male partners. Bisexual squids? Not necessarily..
This same-sex sex isn’t the first we’ve seen in squid- but it’s the first time that it has been as common as male-female sex. Out of 108 squid caught on camera- 39 of them have been identified as male or female- with 19 females and 20 males. Of these 19- 10 females and 9 males showed evidence of mating. The scientists determined that the male squid were trying to mate equally with both sexes.
The way squid mate is quite interesting and unique. The details are still unclear to researchers- but from observations, the male squid ejaculates a packet of sperm- turns it inside out within a membrane then it gets embedded into the skin of the mate. So hopefully if the male is successful- the sperm will stick and the female and choose when and where she wants to fertilize her eggs. (Must be nice.. haha)
As you can see in these photos- There are some white specs just above the female squid’s eye on her mantle. Those are male squid sperm packets.
The second photo is a close up of the sperm packets on the female squid’s mantle- thank you MBARI for the awesome photos!
So are you still wondering if male squid are gay? Well that’s not really the case… since deep-sea squid don’t come into contact with one another too often- their drive to reproduce is enhanced when the come into contact with any other squid (male or female). It’s better to mate with whoever they come in contact with- than loosing any opportunity to reproduce. The squid live by themselves..so it’s lonely out there in the big blue. All they want to do is ensure the survival of their species…who can blame them?
I would have never guessed that a squid would go up in space before at least myself! Well…here is the lucky squid that get to travel up up and beyond:
If the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour happens next week, on-board will not only be human cargo, but baby squid as well! No, these astronauts will not be eating calamari, these squid will be alive and provide a better understanding of bacteria in space (for the sake of us humans).
Bacteria has been studied in space before- but only the bad kind. Salmonella was sent up in 2006 on the space shuttle, and when it returned the bacteria was almost 3 times as likely to kill mice than normal. E.coli is another example of a bad bacteria which also changes its behavior due to exposure to anti-gravity.
The squid of choice to make this epic journey is the bobtail squid Euptymna scolopes. This Pacific species was chosen particularly because it carries a type of bacteria called Vibrio fischeri in its body. The bacteria houses itself inside their light organs once the baby squid hatch. The bobtail squid use this light to shine downward so prey/predators don’t see a shadow cast of the outline of the squid from below.
Bobtail Squid- First Cephalopod To Go Into Space
This type of relationship is a great example of mutualism-where BOTH organisms benefit in a relationship. Humans also have mutualistic relationships with bacteria- in our stomach and immune system.
Jamie Foster is the person who is charge of this experiment, hailing from the University of Florida in Gainesville. The experiment will go as follows:
Newly hatched squid who have not yet been exposed to the bacteria- will swim around in tubes of seawater while launching into space
14 hours after the launch- an astronaut will release the bacteria into the tubes and allow 28 hours for the bacteria to colonize inside the squids light organs
Then, sadly (for research purposes) the squid will be killed and fixed solid-and brought back to a lab on planet Earth for examination
Foster’s preliminary research which mocked micro-gravity appeared to show problems the uptake of bacteria by the squid. Which could ultimately mean that mutualistic bacteria in humans in space could be affected.
So I will be patiently waiting to find out the results of this study..and hopefully some amazing pictures of baby squid in front of a window with Earth in the background 🙂
I am fascinated by squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and nautilus. For those more marine biologically inclined: Cephalopods!
I was reading my Twitter feed (follow me: ChanBam55)- which mainly consists of all marine or science related groups/people- and I came across this awesome photo. This is a Giant Squid Eye ball!
To be honest, I can totally see my office one day with jars of formaldehyde with little squid and octopus in them. They are just amazing creatures!! I aspire to one day have my very own octopus in a tank at my house. I know their lifespan is only around 2-3 years- but I’d make those years count! I’ll feed it the best shrimp and fish an 8-legged cephalopod could ask for 🙂
Giant squids have the largest eye out of all the invertebrates-scratch that-the largest eye on earth! It ranges around 10inches in diameter- about the same size as your very own dinner plate that you’ll eat off of tonight!
Still- little is known about these fantastic creatures. We have still to observe their behaviors and patterns in the wild. They are still a big mystery- that hopefully will become uncovered in my lifetime (or even by myself!). Who knows what else is in the great depths of the deep sea..we might discover some very unusual creatures soon enough!
So- if you don’t know me well enough…I love cephalopods! That means- octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus.
Here is an amazing video I found from National Geographic. Brady Barr is wrestling a Humboldt Squid to put a tag on it to collect footage of the creatures in their own natural environment. This is some pretty amazing footage. I’d totally love to do this!