Squids are one of many animals capable of changing color when they feel threatened, frightened, or just need to be a little dressier, but while many animals can change color, almost none can do it as quickly as squid. It’s long been a mystery to science just how squid send the instructions to the cells that change their pigmentation, called iridophores, and how those cells respond to the stimuli so quickly. In an effort to find out what stimulates those cells, the DIY bio-hackers at Backyard Brains teamed with resaerchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Using a technique they had already tested by making a cockroach dance, the team attached an electrode to the squid’s dorsal fin, allowing them to send electrical impulses into the animal. The electrical impulses they chose to deliver? The Cypress Hill classic “Insane in the Brain.”
Filmed under a microscope, the result is perhaps the coolest life-form based music video since Yo La Tengo took on Jean Painleve’s underwater ballets. (Check out one of those below. They are pretty awesome.) For more on the experiment, you can check out the paper that came out of it in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B here.
- Man, I hate when sharks eat the giant squid I just found
- This is way more fun to watch than a squid writhing as it’s cooked in front of you
- Here are some squid-insect mashups for you to enjoy or be afraid of