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Shapeshifting Cephalopods: Spot the Squid

Shown in the wild, a Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepiotheuthis sepioidea) raises its arms straight up, parallel to soft coral branches. Some shape-shifting cephalopods—squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish—can hold their positions for as long as 40 minutes, Hanlon said. “It’s not a temporary thing, when they want to go in there and look like a piece of the swaying soft coral.”

In the case of Caribbean reef squid, long dark stripes add to the disguise. “It’s a very elegant and sophisticated pattern,” said cephalopod researcher Roger Hanlon, whose research has received funding from the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. (via: National Geo)

(photo: Roger Hanlon)

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