Smoke­screen es­capes

How It Works - - ENVIRONMENT -

Like all cephalopods, oc­to­puses have an ex­tra trick up their sleeve with their ink­ing abil­i­ties. Their siphon is used to shoot out a jet water for quick es­capes, ex­pel waste and se­crete ink from within the man­tle. When an oc­to­pus is star­tled or threat­ened it can con­tract the siphon to re­lease the ink, which mixes with mu­cous to form a sticky, con­fus­ing smoke­screen. Ink is black thanks to melanin – the sub­stance re­spon­si­ble for dark skin and hair in hu­mans. Ink also con­tains a com­pound called ty­rosi­nase that can cause ir­ri­ta­tion, sting­ing the preda­tor’s eyes and be­fud­dling their senses. All of this ef­fec­tively stalls an at­tack, al­low­ing the oc­to­pus to jet to safety.

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