Cuttlefish are sometimes known as the “chameleons of the sea,” for their ability to change colors rapidly and blend in to their surroundings.
Now, researchers have uncovered the three types of “light makers” on the skin that enable this sophisticated camouflage system. The results could lead to better protective gear for soldiers in battle.
Researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., studied the chemical, biological and optical mechanisms that enable the cuttlefish to disguise itself from predators. Understanding how these squidlike creatures cleverly camouflage themselves could lead to military innovations, as well as inspire new materials in cosmetics, paints and consumer electronics, the scientists said.
“Nature solved the riddle of adaptive camouflage a long time ago,” study co-author Kevin Kit Parker, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said in a statement. “Now, the challenge is to reverse-engineer this system in a cost-efficient, synthetic system that is amenable to mass manufacturing.