In March of this year, staff at the Vancouver Aquarium became the proud 'parents' of 400 tiny opalescent squid. These tiny cephalopods (a taxonomic group including squid, octopus and cuttlefish) will eventually reach an adult size of 1 foot; however, they are currently no bigger than a grain of rice. The video footage shows the squid babies eating and undertaking some rudimentary jet-propulsive movement - but the most spectacular part of the video is the showcasing of the chromatophores. Chromatophores are the pigment-containing cells of all cephalopods, and they allow these creatures to become camouflaged in almost any environment. Each pigment cell is directly connected to the nervous system and several muscle groups, which allows the squid to very intricately control both the amount of pigment and the specific colors used. Cephalopods are even capable of changing the texture of their skin! Enjoy this spectacular footage - courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist.