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Friday Squid Blogging: The Language of the Jumbo Flying Squid

The giant flying squid (Dosidicus Gigas) shows 12 different pigmentation patterns in different sequences, similar to how humans arrange words in a sentence. Researchers suggest that these pigmentation changes in the body signal a definite action, such as “I’m about to attack”.

Friday Squid Blogging: The Language of the Jumbo Flying Squid

The giant flying squid (Dosidicus Gigas) uses the ability to change color as a language: But in 2020, marine biologists discovered that the giant flying squid is surprisingly coordinated. Despite being very numerous, squid rarely collided or competed for the same prey. Scientists have hypothesized that the shimmering pigments allow the squid to quickly transmit complex messages, such as when preparing for an attack and when it is being targeted. The researchers noted that the squid showed 12 different pigmentation patterns in different sequences, similar to how humans arrange words in a sentence.

For example, the squid went dark while chasing prey and then switched to a half-light / half-dark mode just before the attack. The researchers suggested that these pigmentation changes in the body signal a definite action, such as “I’m about to attack”. Even more interesting (or worrying), the researchers also believe that the squid uses subtle pigment changes to provide more context to the action.

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