Watch Squid Skin Pulse Its colourful Spots To The Beat Of 'Insane In The Brain'

Squid skin coloursChromatophores on the squid skin change colours with the music.

Photo: YouTube/backyardbrains

One of the trippiest science videos in recent memory comes from the colourful changes of squid skin under the influence of the bass rhythm of the 1993 hit single Cypress Hill’s “Insane In The Brain” in the video below.The pulsating changes in colour come from special colour-changing cells in the squid’s skin, which are controlled by nerve impulses. These nerve impulses are conducted from the brain to these pigmented pores by an electrical signal.

The researchers at Backyard Brains hijacked this signal — instead of getting their electrical input from the squid’s brain, they hooked the squid skin up to an iPod. The electrical signal that’s conducted along the wires of a pair of regular headphones (before it’s turned into sound in the earbud) is enough to signal the pigmented pores, called chromatophores, to change colour with the beat.

Squid skin experiment

Photo: Backyard Brains

From the Backyard Brains blog post:

Squids (like many other cephalopods) can quickly control pigmented cells called chromatophores to reflect light. The Longfin Inshore has 3 different chromatophore colours: Brown, Red, and Yellow. Each chromatophore has tiny muscles along the circumference of the cell that can contract to reveal the pigment underneath.

Watch the video below to see the squid’s chromatophores changing in real time with the beat from the music:

(via Backyard Brains)

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