Color change?????


Dec 11, 2002
Ahhhhh!!!! Confusion??? Here is a good question for inquiring minds who want and (need) to know. In my case have no idea how to figure it out... lol :lol:!!
What can change colors more often... Octopus or chamelion...all types put together?????
This question has confused me for a long time...just curious!!

Any ideas or educated opinions???
Both have unbeleivable camoflage abilities!!!! :x :x !

Please answer this is a plea!!! :oops: 8)
cephalopods in general can change color faster than a chameleon, I believe, because of the way that the chromatophores (pigment spots that can be opened or closed) are under control by a system of muscles (on each chromatophore! of which there are many on a single animal). I recommend reading Cephalopod Behaviour for a good overview on both the biology and behavior of these wonderful animals... However, not being a biologist myself or particularly scientific despite being a big fan of these animals, I'm sure that someone else will be able to give you a much better and accurate description of the way that chromatophores (and iridophores and leucophores) work. James Wood has a page that covers this at Cephalopod Patterning

Having taken both Herpetology and Invertebrate Zoology, I agree wholeheartedly with Sedusa... (Cool name, BTW).

Here's another cool fact: some cephs can even change the texture of their skin to match the both the color AND surface of their resting substrate.

Sushi and Sake,

Thanks John! While up north visiting my family for the holidays I ranted to my dad about the wonders of cephalopod body pattern changes :smile: I think my family wonders about me... "you're going to thailand to attend a squid conference???" Are any other TONMOers attending the CIAC? I know James Wood is (And if I get a chance to take some scuba lessons while I'm out there I'll take you up on the offer for TONMOers to join you diving, James!) but I dunno about anybody else. What part of california are you in, John?
Well, I'm in Texas right now, visiting the in-laws, but will be returning tomorrow to Sacramento to visit my mother and father, and then back to Arcata, CA on Friday.... No, I don't know about the conference. Sounds cool, though.

BTW, is "Sedusa" a PowerPuff Girls reference? :biggrin2:

Thanks for the info!

Sushi and Sake,

I'm actually from Santa Cruz originally, but I moved down south to OC. What part of texas are you in? I used to live in Dallas for a while with my girlfriend. Didn't really like it at the time but I get inexplicably nostalgic for it sometimes. Have you considered going to the NRCC in galveston? I know Colin and Nancy just went and it is a plan of mine to try to arrange a trip when I next go to texas. Sedusa was actually a reference to an obscure My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult song that never got released as far as I know, but I loved the name. When I found out that there was a villian named that on powerpuff girls I went ballistic tho... even conned my little stepsister into giving me a little trading card she had, which I still keep in my wallet (yes, I am a geek in sooo many ways...) I hope everybody is doing something fun for NYE tonight!
..... i feel like an intruder in this thread .... excuse me if so :biggrin2:

There is at least one cephalopod, good-old Vampyroteuthis, in which the chromatophores are not provided with muscles, and there are no chromatophore lobes in the brain. Presumably there is little or no colour change (fide J.Z. Young, p. 379 in 'Brain, Behavior and Evolution', in 'The Biology of Cephalopods', eds Nixon & Messenger, 1977).

Just found that wee gem when researching your other query John.
sorry steve, got carried away there. I know I for one am always happy to read your input on the topics on this site!
Octopuses can very well change colors more because first of all chamelions really don't move as much as Octopus and chamelions stay in one place for a long period of time so they stay one color for a long time. Octopus move along reefs and the sea bottom and whatever there environment color is thell change exactly to that color so octopuses change color every second just about if there moving everywere if not then they stay one color till they move to a different color part of a reef or place.
Also.........Octopus can change color much faster than a chamelion.Chamelions change color by slowly fading into that certain color they want while octopus have pigemnts which can change color faster than you can blink your eyes.
I stumbled across this online the other day; seems a good (and comprehensible) explanation of how squid skin works. They even have animations. :smile:
Also, experiments have been done on the effect of nerve sections on chromatophore patterning; seems that if the ceph brain is disturbed the patterns go haywire. Here are some neat videos.

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.