Model The Texture-Changing Structures of Cuttlefish Skin: Papillae

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Cephalopods are soft-bodied invertebrates living in an ocean of sharp-toothed and large-mouthed visual predators. They can change the texture of their skin, making it even more difficult for a predator to see their body in complex environments. To do this, cuttlefish and octopus use papillae, muscly balloon-like skin structures that can expand into various shapes and sizes.

You can model a single papilla using just a balloon and duct tape. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even engineer your model papilla to take on a particular shape. So grab some large (12-inch) balloons, a roll of duct tape, and let’s get to know papillae up close!

Teachers, you can find the full resource on Science Friday's website by clicking here.

Lesson Plan Resources

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