Cephalopods don't need a mirror test - they are mirrors themselves .

PZ probably already knows about this, but I found this discovery of super-reflective skin cells in squid, cuttlefish and octopus quite amazing!

Hanlon's team discovered that the bottom layer of octopus skin, made up of cells called leucophores, is composed of a translucent, colourless, reflecting protein. "Protein reflectors are very odd in the animal kingdom," says Hanlon, who is a zoologist. What's even more odd is just how reflective these proteins are -- they reflect all wavelengths of light that hit at any angle. "This is beautiful broadband reflection," Hanlon told the Materials Research Society at their meeting in Boston last month. The result is a material that looks startlingly white in white light, and blue in the bluish light found beneath the waves. "These cells also match the intensity of the prevalent light," says Hanlon's research associate Lydia Mathger. All this helps the creatures to blend into their surroundings.

Hat-tip: Matt Dowling

More like this

A reader sent in this intriguing question in response to the previous post on cuttlefish: "What is there vision like? Do they really see around them clearly enough to have evolved mimicry?" Researchers Mathger et al. have shown that the animals are actually colorblind but can distinguish objects…
Two strangers are having a normal conversation in the middle of a large crowd. No one else can see them. No one else can listen in. Thanks to advanced gadgetry, they are talking in coded messages that only they can decipher. These invisible conversationalists sound like they've walked out of a…
For years, fellow scienceblogger PZ Myers has taught us all well why we ought to adore squid, octopuses, and other cephalopods. But I came to a new degree of appreciation when I traveled up to Woods Hole to spend some time with the biologist Roger Hanlon. Hanlon studies how cephalopods disguise…
Humans Are Reason For Why Domestic Animals Have Such Strange And Varied Coat Colors: You notice it in your everyday life, the bewildering diversity in coat colour among our pigs, dogs and other domestic animals. This stark contrasts with the uniformity of colour within wild animals. A new study on…