Science

What Cthulhu Saw: Scientists Mount Camera To Big Squid To Watch It Flash


Sure, slapping a GoPro to one’s self before performing an act of extreme… extremeness is definitely cool. But I’d like to raise the ante: how about we strap a camera to a huge squid instead so we can see what cephalopodan acts it gets up to beneath the waves?

William Gilly, of Standford University’s marine laboratory, is already a step ahead of you. His team placed the National Geographic Society’s “Crittercam” to a Humboldt squid, an aquatic denizen that can weigh up to 50kg and grow to a length of 1.5m. How do you go about fitting a Humboldt with it’s very own camera? Gilly explains:

Then you need a way to attach it [the camera] to the squid and the way we’ve used is to sort of put the camera on a bathing suit — a tube of stretchable nylon… it’s actually a child’s bathing suit, cut so it’s a tube and then slipped over the fins so it can’t come off again.

Well, I hope the other squids don’t make fun of its choice of apparel.

About half-way through the video, you’ll notice the squids start to flash from black-to-white. This isn’t a problem with the recording — what you’re seeing is what scientist believe is a form of communication where the squid’s skin cells, called “chromatophores”, quickly alternate from red to white. What’s amazing is that the cells do this synchronously, creating an visual amazing effect.

[YouTube, via Nature World News]

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