Australian scientists are one step closer to understanding the camouflage ability of squid, thanks to MRI-based mapping of their brain.
Research at the Queensland Brain Institute suggests 145 new connections and pathways, 60% of which are linked to vision and motor systems.
“We can see that a lot of neural circuits are dedicated to camouflage and visual communication, giving the squid a unique ability to evade predators, hunt and conspecific communicate with dynamic colour changes,” says researcher Wen-Sung Chung.
Modern cephalopods have famously complex brains, with more than 500 million neurons – nearly as many as a dog. Mice and rats have only 200 million, and a normal mollusc just 20,000.
The new study supports emerging hypotheses on convergent evolution – when organisms independently evolve similar traits – of cephalopod nervous systems with parts of the vertebrate central nervous system.
“Our findings will hopefully provide evidence to help us understand why these fascinating creatures display such diverse behaviour and very different interactions,” says Chung
The research is published in the journal iScience.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.