Let biomimicry expert (15 years!) and Biomimicry 3.8 co-founder Dayna Baumeister explain the amazing color-changing skills of the octopus.
AskNature Nuggets | Episode 11
Thank you to YouTube user tabubilgirl for their Creative Commons licensed footage of the cuttlefish used in this video:
Octopuses and their cousins – squid and cuttlefish- all have one thing in common and that is they have no shell. And without a shell, they have to be able to protect from predators. So what they’ve evolved, over all these millions of years, is the ability to change color and to match their surroundings, like camoflauge.
But they can do it in an instant. The way they do it is that they have specialized skin cells that contain chromatophores. What chromatophores are are special pockets that hold pigments and by using their nerves, they change the shape and size of those chromatophores, effectively dispursing those pigments or concentrating those pigments to match the landscape in which they’re traveling.
Can you imagine if our buildings or our clothing was capable of moving pigments and we could match and blend and be cool or be warm depending on the colors we have? Octopus would be the one to ask.