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Video: How do cephalopods achieve their crazy-colorful chemistry?

Understanding the proteins and pigments of squid, cuttlefish, and octopuses could help humans up their camouflage game

by Samantha Jones
April 12, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 15

Credit: C&EN/Shutterstock

Cephalopods, which include octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, and other tentacled creatures, rely on adaptive camouflage that allows them to quickly change the color of their skin to match their surroundings. In August 2018, the Speaking of Chemistry team had a chance to catch up with Leila Deravi, a chemical biologist at Northeastern University, whose lab is trying to understand how, on a molecular level, these creatures achieve these complex color shifts. The scientists hope to apply what they learn to develop products like cosmetics or clothing for the US military that actively camouflages soldiers.

Music: “React” and “Glow” by Evan Schaeffer are licensed under CC BY 4.0.

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