What the octopus genome can tell us

Author: Shweta Ramdas

Editors: Irene Park, Ada Hagan, Alisha John

The team at MiSciWriters certainly finds cephalopods fascinating, and we aren’t alone. Last year, the octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) was added to the growing list of organisms whose genome sequence is known.

Octopuses belong to a class of organisms called cephalopods, which literally means ‘head-feet’ (members of the cephalopod family have a head and tentacles or arms). These tentacles enable the creatures to do some very clever maneuvering, such as escaping their aquariums to eat crabs outside their tanks. It’s no surprise then that these are the most intelligent amongst invertebrates and now new information about the octopus genome can tell us more about these fascinating creatures.

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Being cephalopod: Changing color in a color-blind world

Author: Ada Hagan

Editors: Bryan Moyers, Kevin Boehnke, Shweta Ramdas

 

Just a couple of weeks ago in “Camouflaged: Finding cephalopods” MiSciWriters blogger Irene Park told us about how cephalopods (octopuses, cuttlefish, and squids) alter their skin color, and texture to blend into their surroundings. But based on what scientists know about cephalopods’ eyes, they should be color-blind. So how can they mimic colors with such incredible accuracy?

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Camouflaged: Finding cephalopods

Written by: Irene Park

Edited by: Ada Hagan, Alisha John, Bryan Moyers, Kevin Boehnke

When I was watching Finding Dory, one character caught my eye: Hank the octopus (or septopus since he’s missing a tentacle). Throughout the movie, Hank uses his camouflage ability to blend into his surroundings, a very useful skill for Dory’s quest to reunite with her family without getting noticed by humans.  

I could not help but think how helpful Hank’s camouflage ability would be for different professions: hunters, nature photographers, and perhaps even people in the military. Unsurprisingly, researchers are already taking notes from cephalopods — which include octopuses like Hank, as well as squids and cuttlefishes — to develop better camouflage technology.

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