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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: How the Blue-Ringed Octopus Flashes Its Bling
10 October 2012 3:50 pm
Don't mess with the blue-ringed octopus. The golf ball-sized cephalopod, which lives in the Pacific Ocean along shallow shores, carries a neurotoxin that can kill an adult human within minutes. But before it bites, releasing its venomous saliva through its beak, the octopus sends out a warning—a flash of bright blue rings—that seems to suddenly iridesce all over its body. A study published today inThe Journal of Experimental Biology reveals how the creature puts on its colorful show: by flexing its muscles. It turns out that the blue-green rings are always there, but pouches of skin conceal their iridescence when the octopus is relaxed. When the octopus gets agitated, it releases one set of muscles and tenses another to get the pouches out of the way and reveal its iridescence. The blue-ringed octopus's brawny approach is unique—all other cephalopods use sacs of pigment, called chromatophores, to change their colors.
See more ScienceShots.