About half a mile below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, small squid and octopuses face a camouflage conundrum.
Some of their predators, like hatchet fish, hunt by diving deeper and looking upward for silhouettes of potential food. To sneak past them, it helps to be transparent and avoid casting a shadow. But other predators, like deep-sea dragonfish, patrol using biological searchlights that reflect off of clear flesh, like a flashlight pointed at a window. In the presence of these luminescent adversaries, it’s much safer to be as dark as the surrounding water.
New research shows that at least two species of cephalopod — a Japetella octopus and an Onychoteuthis squid — have avoided this dilemma by evolving the ability to switch rapidly between the two disguises.
When you want to do it best, just observe nature. To read more, click here.