A new study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has shed some light (oh… ZING!) on how squids may use another organ, along with their eyes, to see.
Some squids have a light organ on them which they use to camoflauge themselves from predators below them. The organ is filled with a luminous bateria that the squid can activate to light up. The idea is that the squids can illuminate their organs to match the light coming from the surface of the water, thus confusing a rising, hungry fish or giant crab monsters recently loose from attacking deep sea oil drilling stations.
By studying the molecules of this organ, however, researchers have discovered that it is both capable of emitting AND registering light from the environment. It contains a protein also found in the squids’ eyes that is used to “see” light.
Are you made of star dust? Because your light is registering in my organ.
The scientists are speculating that the organ may use these proteins to register the surface light and then match the baterial glow to it in order to best camoflauge the squid. They are also enthusiastic that it will shed light on the “mechanisms of controlling and perceiving light.” What a nice way to justify your grant research money.