Severus Snape once told Harry Potter, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: “The mind is a complex and many-layered thing.” The same might be said of cephalopod skin. Well, it may not have as many layers as your mind, but it does have at least three distinct layers. Going from the outside in, we find a chromatophore layer, an iridophore layer, and a leucophore layer. The chromatophore layer uses spots of pigment to paint patterns; the iridophore layer bends and bounces light to display shimmering colors; the leucophore layer serves as a reflective background for everything above it. Each layer of cephalopod skin contributes its own little bit of artistry to the overall painting.
In this lesson, we will look at the first layer, the chromatophore layer, in detail.
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