We all know that chameleons can change their color to blend into the background. But the octopus has the ability to make the chameleon look like a shape-shifting amateur. The octopus can change the color, shading and texture of its skin almost instaneously to uncannily match a wide variety of aquatic backgrounds.
The octopus does so by employing skin cells that operate a lot like a digital television screen. The top layer of skin consists of three different basic colored cells, red yellow and brown. These turn off and on in combination to create all basic colors. But below these cells is another layer that has a shiny quality and serves to create mid-tones. This second layer also gives octopus control over the brightness or dullness of the created color!
The skin also has an advanced muscular system that allows the octopus to recreate texture by changing the surface quality of the skin itself.
Scientists have studied the vision system of these amazing animals to try to figure out how they can instaneously assess and and copy such a fantastically wide and complicated range of imagery. But it might not have anything to do with their vision because they inexplicably are able to create the same mimicry in the dark!
Fantastic but true and just another example of the fantastic range of nature that defies scientific explanation.