Octopus and kin inspire new camouflage strategies for military applications

Nov 12, 2007

Researchers are studying the remarkable shape- and color-changing abilities of the octopus and its close relatives in an effort to understand one of nature’s most remarkable feats of camouflage and self-preservation.

Eventually, such knowledge could lead to new and improved camouflage strategies for military applications, according to an article scheduled for the Nov. 12 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

Octopus and kin inspire new camouflage strategies for military applications
Octopus emerges from concealment. Credit: Roger Hanlon, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass

In the article, C&EN associate editor Bethany Halford points out that cephalopods, which include octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, are experts in the art of camouflage and renowned for their ability to make themselves look like fish, rocks, coral and other objects in an effort to hide from predators.

By studying the various layers of skin of these creatures, particularly the chemicals in these layers that are behind their color transitions, scientists hope to develop similar camouflage strategies.

In the article, Halford describes the specialized skin cells involved in the creatures’ color transformations, including the leucophore layer, which serves as a veritable base coat, another layer with chromatophores that are filled with pigments, and yet another layer sporting iridophores that reflect light in curious ways.

Link: pubs.acs.org/cen/science/85/8546sci2.html

Source: ACS

Explore further: Following a protein's travel inside cells is key to improving patient monitoring, drug development

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New method to analyse how cancer cells die

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - have found a new method to more efficiently manufacture a chemical used to monitor cancer cells.

User comments : 0

More news stories

New method to analyse how cancer cells die

(Phys.org) —A team from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - have found a new method to more efficiently manufacture a chemical used to monitor cancer cells.

Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes

(Phys.org) —Inspired by the fist-like club of a mantis shrimp, a team of researchers led by University of California, Riverside, in collaboration with University of Southern California and Purdue University, ...

New breast cancer imaging method promising

The new PAMmography method for imaging breast cancer developed by the University of Twente's MIRA research institute and the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital appears to be a promising new method that could ...

Research proves nanobubbles are superstable

The intense research interest in surface nanobubbles arises from their potential applications in microfluidics and the scientific challenge for controlling their fundamental physical properties. One of the ...

Using antineutrinos to monitor nuclear reactors

When monitoring nuclear reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to rely on input given by the operators. In the future, antineutrino detectors may provide an additional option for monitoring. ...