Octopuses focus on key features for successful camouflage

May 23, 2012
Octopuses camouflage themselves by matching their body pattern to selected features of nearby objects. Credit: Keren Levi

Octopuses camouflage themselves by matching their body pattern to selected features of nearby objects, rather than trying to match the entire larger field of view, according to new research published in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The animals have evolved sophisticated camouflaging abilities in response to intense predation pressure, but many of the details of this mechanism remain unknown.

Now, the researchers of the current study, led by Noam Josef of Ben-Gurion University in Israel, have used to determine that this camouflage is based on a few key features of the environment, rather than the entire background visual field.

According to Josef, "by reproducing key features of well-chosen objects, the can produce an effective camouflage that may fool a wide range of potential predators."

The authors speculate that this could make the strategy more flexible and increase success in slightly different environments.

Explore further: Stealth camouflage at night

More information: Josef N, Amodio P, Fiorito G, Shashar N (2012) Camouflaging in a Complex Environment—Octopuses Use Specific Features of Their Surroundings for Background Matching. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37579. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037579

Related Stories

Stealth camouflage at night

March 9, 2007

Cuttlefish are well-known masters of disguise who use highly developed camouflage tactics to blend in almost instantaneously with their surroundings. These relatives of octopuses and squid are part of a class of animals called ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...

A huge chunk of a tardigrade's genome comes from foreign DNA

November 23, 2015

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have sequenced the genome of the nearly indestructible tardigrade, the only animal known to survive the extreme environment of outer space, and found something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.