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Octopuses “see” the light with their tentacles

Octopuses are one of the most fascinating and interesting animals in the world. A study, which was published by the Journal of Experimental Biology, reveals their new behavior.

Scientists have known for a long time that octopus’ tentacles react to light. The skin of these animals is covered with pigment-filled organs, the so-called chromatophores that change color reflexively under the influence of light. They are responsible for the octopus’ camouflage. It was during the research focused on chromatophores that scientists in Israel noticed something strange. Researchers have found that octopuses can “see” light with their tentacles, even when their eyes are in the dark. In a study revealing this intricate protective mechanism, researchers used a flashlight. Whenever a fragment of the octopus arm was illuminated with a flashlight, she immediately cramped it. According to the authors of the study, this suggests that the octopus was able to “sense and respond to light with its arms, even if it did not see it with its eyes.” This behavior of the octopus is not a reflex, the researchers say, but is controlled by higher-level cognitive abilities in the brain. It’s fascinating.