"Embedded in their skin are pigment cells called chromatophores that can change color and reflectivity to better blend in with the creature’s surroundings. Now a team of researchers from the University of California at Irvine have used one of the proteins vital to this ability in squid to create a new type of camouflage tape. It’s not unlike standard packing tape you might have sitting around the house, but with one important difference. It’s invisible under certain wavelengths of light."
"The reflectin protein is found in a subclass of chromatophores called iridocytes or iridophores. The protein was only recently isolated and characterized, so researchers are still working to understand how it functions. It appears that layers of reflectin inside the squid’s cells produce iridescent colors by diffraction of incoming light. The distance between these layers affects the color of light produced, and thus you have a component of squid camouflage."
"Squid produce different colored responses in their chromatophores by stretching and compressing the pigmented cells. It’s much the same with the tape. In the first experiments, the team used vinegar to cause the protein layers to swell. This made the material invisible under near infrared light and served as a good proof of concept."
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