reflectin protein in ceph light organs


TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
Apparently, the "reflectin" protein found in squid reflectors is very different from similar non-ceph homologues. I just stumbled on this randomly when looking for something else, but it was interesting. This particular paper is rather photonics and protein heavy and cephalopod-light, but it references some other papers that describe it a bit more in vivo, including two by Hanlon et. al. This sounds like yet another case where a cephalopod genome project would be interesting, since the evolutionary history of this reflectin stuff seems likely died to coleoid development... I wonder if the same stuff is found in Vampyroteuthis and Spirula light organs... are there any octopuses that have light organs with reflectors? (edit: Nixon & Young describe a circumoral photophore in female Eledonella, but don't say if it has a reflector structure.) If so, they'd be interesting as well. And even more interesting if the protein also accounts for the iridescence of nautilus (or ammonite) shells!

further edits: does anyone have the Herring 1994 article on Vampyroteuthis from J. Zool? I can't find it online...
other questions: do nautilus have leucophores or pigment cells? Are their white parts just because muscle cells are white in cephs? Are the red-brown parts in pigment "packets" like one might expect precursors to chromatophores?

also, despite many references saying that there are no bioluminescent cirroctopods, apparently there are