Mechanisms and behavioural functions of structural coloration in cephalopods

Mathger, Lydia M., Denton, Eric J., Marshall, N. Justin and Hanlon, Roger T. (2009) Mechanisms and behavioural functions of structural coloration in cephalopods. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 6 Suppl 2: S149-S163. doi:10.1098/rsif.2008.0366.focus

Author Mathger, Lydia M.
Denton, Eric J.
Marshall, N. Justin
Hanlon, Roger T.
Title Mechanisms and behavioural functions of structural coloration in cephalopods
Journal name Journal of The Royal Society Interface   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1742-5689
Publication date 2009-04-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rsif.2008.0366.focus
Volume 6
Issue Suppl 2
Start page S149
End page S163
Total pages 15
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Abstract Octopus, squid and cuttlefish are renowned for rapid adaptive coloration that is used for a wide range of communication and camouflage. Structural coloration plays a key role in augmenting the skin patterning that is produced largely by neurally controlled pigmented chromatophore organs. While most iridescence and white scattering is produced by passive reflectance or diffusion, some iridophores in squid are actively controlled via a unique cholinergic, non-synaptic neural system. We review the recent anatomical and experimental evidence regarding the mechanisms of reflection and diffusion of light by the different cell types (iridophores and leucophores) of various cephalopod species. The structures that are responsible for the optical effects of some iridophores and leucophores have recently been shown to be proteins. Optical interactions with the overlying pigmented chromatophores are complex, and the recent measurements are presented and synthesized. Polarized light reflected from iridophores can be passed through the chromatophores, thus enabling the use of a discrete communication channel, because cephalopods are especially sensitive to polarized light. We illustrate how structural coloration contributes to the overall appearance of the cephalopods during intra- and interspecific behavioural interactions including camouflage.
Keyword Irisdescence
Multilayer reflector
Light diffusion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 101 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 18 Mar 2009, 12:12:10 EST