Squid Skin and Cypress Hill combine forces

by | Aug 24, 2012 | Funny, Science | 0 comments

The folks at Backyard Brains, known for their Spikerbox that can help you record and see neural activity, and researchers at at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA have applied the Backyard Brains protocol stimulating an amputated cockroach leg into motion via music to the chromatophores of squid skin, with very cool results. Squids, and other cephalopods, neurally control the pigmented cells in their skin, chromatophores, to reflect light. The squid skin in use belongs to the Longfin Inshore Squid, loligo pealei, and has three different chromatophore  colors – brown, red and yellow – with each chromatophore surrounded by muscles that can contract to reveal the pigment underneath. According to Backyard Brains, “We used a suction electrode to attach to the squid’s fin nerve, then connected the electrode to an iPod nano as our stimulator. The results were both interesting and beautiful. The video is a view through an 8x microscope zoomed in on the dorsal side of the fin”.

If you didn’t think cephalopods were cool before, this alone should change your mind. Perhaps in the future, dance clubs will be wall papered with artificially grown squid skin, or perhaps your television will be made of a squid skin analogue. I know, we still want our jet packs, but perhaps the squid can help us there too.

  • Rich Ross

    Richard Ross currently works as an Aquatic Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences, maintaining many exhibits including the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef. He has kept saltwater animals for over 25 years, and has worked in aquarium maintenance, retail, wholesale and has consulted for a coral farm/fish collecting station in the South Pacific. Richard enjoys all aspects of the aquarium hobby and is a regular author for trade publications, a frequent speaker at aquarium conferences and was a founder of one of the largest and most progressive reef clubs in Northern California, Bay Area Reefers. He is an avid underwater videographer and has been fortunate to scuba dive in a lot of places around the world. At home he maintains a 300 gallon reef system and a 250 gallon cephalopod/fish breeding system, and was one of the first people to close the life cycle of Sepia bandensis. When not doing all that stuff, he enjoys spending time with his patient wife, his incredible daughter and their menagerie of animals, both wet and dry.

    View all posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upcoming Events