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How Does the Octopus See Colour?

We know that octopus is a very smart marine creature. Octopus' level of self-expression, problem-solving, and astuteness is very high.

Of course, vision is a very crucial part of living life. An earthworm is a successful creature, yet the earthworm is blind. In the case of octopuses, they had only a single type of photoreceptor. Humans have three kinds of photoreceptors. Each photoreceptor is sensitive to red, blue, and green colour exclusively. 

This theory concludes that they are colour-blind, but how is this possible? They are good at Camouflage, and they can send and receive the colour pattern. Because octopuses have only one type of photoreceptor they are sensitive to blue light.

Recent studies on octopuses explain that octopuses can change their body colour and use it to hide and attack other creatures. And they also used it at mating with their mate. 

There are two assumptions to explain this mystery:

  • They are using chromatic aberration to focus different colours
  • They use their skin to detect colour 

Which of these do you think helps the multilegged clever creature to perfectly disguise itself in a blick in its surroundings?

Using chromatic aberration to focus different colour

Now that we know it involves multi-receptors to distinguish in colour and our eye's multi-colour image produces, it looks like a projection method. Instead of this, the octopus uses another method that is different from others. By having a pupil of circular shape it can allow one dimensional light to enter in it. But having a different pupil shaped like S shape, M shaped, and U- shaped pupil allows light in all directions. Octopus eyes have a separated base component of red, blue, and green, so they don't need to have three different types of receptors.

Octopus retina can move with a lens. This movement is the micro-movement that involves focusing on different colour light. With the help of optic nerves octopus can combine different colour wavelengths into a single image, and the image is now turned into a multicolour image. This is a very unique and surprising way of visualizing colour.

This theory helps octopuses to detect colour but when they have a high intensity of light the image which is produced in the nervous system can be blurry. That is also the reason why octopuses travel at night. On account of having different shapes of pupil they also have problems focusing the image due to the extra amount of light, that's why they aren't able to create a non-blurred image. 

For resolving this they have a different mode which used, let us move on next method of detecting colour in octopus.

The skin of octopus can detect colour

There are about two-thirds of neurons present in octopus hands. These neurons also help them to taste. As we know octopuses can change their body colour to distract the predator and also use this skill to attract other creatures. This happens due to chromatophores, the special kind of cells that help the octopus to reflect different kinds of colours. They use to reflect light matching to their surroundings, in this process neurons which are present in the octopus hands transmit information of different colour to the brains, so they can change their body colour to the surrounding area. Many of the studies say octopus hands can detect very small amounts of light even which can't be seen by their eyes. 

When the octopus is asleep, neurons present in their hands can detect light. This implies octopuses can't see by their hands or body but can detect colour and change skin to the same colour, which is more than to see any colour image. Fascinating creatures, aren’t they? 

 #animal facts #PlantScience 


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PlantScience blog is an insightful discussion to understand and explain the science behind the great success of plants – how plants live, survive. Nature at its best is a great repository of knowledge and most of it is still a mystery to our minds. However, at Atrimed PlantScience, we have willed ourselves to research, understand the best-kept secrets of Nature and use that knowledge to the betterment of our health. We believe in thinking beyond, knowing beyond and using the best research capabilities to understand the science plants use to live, thrive, adapt and grow. In this blog, you would find details of some interesting plant facts, the science behind them, snippets of history, updates about science and many interesting secrets. Read, subscribe, share your comments about PlantScience with us. Thank you!

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