A Blog by Ed Yong

Master of masters of camouflage

Few animals are better at blending into their backgrounds than the cephalopods—the class of marine camouflage experts that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. And few people know more about their tricks than Roger Hanlon.

Ever since the age of 21, when an octopus took him by surprise on a snorkelling trip, Hanlon has been enchanted by their disappearing acts. Within fractions of a second, they can change the colour, texture and shape of their bodies to perfectly match those of their environment. Just look at this incredible octopus video that Hanlon took:

I’ve written about Hanlon’s work, and about the secrets of cephalopod camouflage, for Mental Floss. Head over there to read more about why cephalopods evolved such incredible abilities, how their infinitely varying patterns are actually more constrained that they seem, and how Hanlon is now trying to duplicate squid skin with synthetic materials.