iOS app Android app More

Cephalopod: Octopuses And Squids Use Camouflage To Avoid Detection (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 11/19/11 11:36 AM ET Updated: 11/19/11 11:41 AM ET

Some squids and octopuses have taken a page from Harry Potter.

A new study from Duke University has found that two cephalopods, the octopus Japetella heathi and the squid Onychoteuthis banksii, have the ability to quickly switch between transparency and pigmentation to essentially become invisible, a trait that helps the animals avoid detection by predators.

WATCH THE CEPHALOPODS CHANGE COLOR IN THE VIDEO BELOW

Both animals live between 600 and 1,000 meters (1,970 to 3,280 feet) below the ocean's surface, in what's called the lower Mesopelagic zone.

According to the release from Duke, both this squid and octopus are transparent in their resting state. Discover Magazine reports that predators like the hatchetfish that have upward-facing eyes have a difficult time seeing them because the little bit of light at this depth passes through their transparent bodies.

But this only helps the cephalopods hide from some of the predators.

"The problem is that when you get to that depth, a lot of animals are essentially running around with flashlights," Sönke Johnsen, the co-author of the study, told HuffPost.

So when a predator with its own "flashlight" -- like the headlight fish -- shines its bluish light at either one of these cephalopods, the pigments instantly become red, allowing the animals to camouflage.

"These guys are clever enough to know what might be looking for them," said Johnsen. "They sort of get the best of both worlds."

"Cephalopods in general are just remarkable animals for how clever they are for adapting to different circumstances," Johnsen added.

The study, which is co-authored by Sarah Zylinski, appears in Current Biology.

WATCH: Deep Water Camouflage:

Want more awesome ocean animals? Check out the slideshow below for some of our favorite shark photos:

Loading Slideshow...
  • In this handout picture released by Awashima Marine Park, a 1.6 meter long Frill shark swims in a tank after being found by a fisherman at a bay in Numazu, on January 21, 2007 in Numazu, Japan. The frill shark, also known as a Frilled shark usually lives in waters of a depth of 600 meters and so it is very rare that this shark is found alive at sea-level. Its body shape and the number of gill are similar to fossils of sharks which lived 350,000,000 years ago. (Photo by Awashima Marine Park/Getty Images)

  • A shark swims in a tank at the New York Aquarium on August 7, 2001 in Coney Island, New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • A June 11, 2009 file photo provided by Elasmodiver shows scientist Eric Hoffmayer of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Miss., taking fin measurements of a whale shark in the Gulf of Mexico, about 55 miles off the Louisiana coast. Hoffmayer says whale sharks, the world's biggest fish, are particularly vulnerable if they get into the oil slick. That's because, rather than moving up to the surface and down again, they eat by swimming along the surface, sucking in plankton, fish eggs and small fish. (AP Photo/Elasmodiver, Andy Murch, File)

  • In this handout picture released by Awashima Marine Park, a 1.6 meter long Frill shark swims in a tank after being found by a fisherman at a bay in Numazu, on January 21, 2007 in Numazu, Japan. The frill shark, also known as a Frilled shark usually lives in waters of a depth of 600 meters and so it is very rare that this shark is found alive at sea-level. Its body shape and the number of gill are similar to fossils of sharks which lived 350,000,000 years ago. (Photo by Awashima Marine Park/Getty Images)

  • Home And Away actor Jon Sivewright launches the new Adventure experience Grey Nurse Shark Feed Dive at Manly's Ocean World on December 18, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)

  • This Saturday, June 26, 2010 photo released by Bruce Sweet shows a juvenile great white shark swimming in the Atlantic Ocean about 20 miles off the coast of Gloucester, Mass., in the rich fishing ground known as Stellwagen Bank. The shark was pulled up by Gloucester-based Sweet Dream III, tagged, and returned to the sea. (AP Photo/www.SportFishingMA.com, Bruce Sweet)

  • A shark swims in a tank at the New York Aquarium August 7, 2001 in Coney Island, New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • A shark swim inside a fish tank as a diver, left, cleans the glass at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011. The Two Oceans Aquarium hosts group activities for school children and students which include the identification and observation of fish and other species. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

  • In this picture taken on September 3, 2011, an environmental activist releases a baby black-tip shark into the sea as part of an operation organised by the sharks protection group Dive Tribe off the coast of the southern Thai sea resort of Pattaya. On average an estimated 22,000 tonnes of sharks are caught annually off Thailand for their fins -- a delicacy in Chinese cuisine once enjoyed only by the rich, but now increasingly popular with the wealthier middle class. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated photo released by The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador shows a diver alongside a whale shark in the Galapagos Island, Ecuador. (AP Photo/The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador)

  • This undated photo released by The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador shows a diver alongside a whale shark in the Galapagos Island, Ecuador. (AP Photo/The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador)

FOLLOW HUFFPOST GREEN