Study Proposes Explanation for How Cephalopods See Color

July 6, 2016

Cephalopod behavior and pupil shapes. [Images courtesy of (A) Klaus Stiefel, (B) Flickr/Lakshmi Sawitri, (C) Ken Marks, and (D) Roy Caldwell.]

For years, camera-makers have sought ways to avoid chromatic aberration - the color fringes that occur when various wavelengths of light focus at different distances behind a lens.

But where photographers see a problem, some sea creatures see possibility. A new study, co-authored by the father-and-son team of Christopher and Alexander Stubbs, suggests that chromatic aberration may explain how cephalopods - the class of animals that includes squid, octopi and cuttlefish - can demonstrate such remarkable camouflage abilities despite only being able to see in black and white.

Read the rest of the article and see the original paper: Alexander L. Stubbs and Christopher W. Stubbs, "Spectral discrimination in color blind animals via chromatic aberration and pupil shape," PNAS 2016; published ahead of print July 5, 2016 | doi: 10.1073/pnas.1524578113.