Octopus Monday: Pulsing musical chromatophores

Not strictly an octopus BUT it is a cephalopod so at least we’re in the right ballpark when it comes to class, if not order.

What you can see is a video recording the expansion and contraction of chromatophores – the muscle-controlled pigment cells in the skin of cephalopods – which allow the creatures’ skin to change colour. In the wild they can use that to better conceal themselves or to communicate with one another but the squid being recorded by Mike Bok for this video was already dead. I would assume that the pulsing therefore happens as a result of residual activity in the nervous system.

In addition to being a fascinating biological process, Mike set the pulsing to music – Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major – which makes the whole thing really beautiful.

[io9 via @duncangeere]