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

Creative Commons License: 
Attribution Non-commercial NoDerivative CC (BY-NC-ND)