Octopus are masters of camouflage. This midget octopus (centre) blends in well with the bryozoans and shells on the sea floor. Octopus have thousands of special skin cells called chromatophores, which contain coloured pigments. These contract and expand almost instantaneously in response to changes in the surroundings. Special reflective cells (iridophores) in the skin impart an iridescence that assists with camouflage. Octopus can also alter their texture by raising or lowering tiny skin bumps (papillae).
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Photograph by Peter Batson
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