Chromatophore

From Academic Kids

Chromatophores or pigment cells are color changing cells used most notably by chameleons as well as cephalopods such as squid and octopuses. A chromatophore is composed of a single chromatophore cell and numerous muscle, nerve, glial and sheath cells. These cells are contractile and contain vesicles that contain three different liquid pigments. To change their color the cells distort their form or size stretching or contracting their outer covering thus changing its translucency or opacity. Octopuses can operate each individual chromatophore resulting in a wide variety of color schemes. These cells are highly developed and numerous in the cephalopods.

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