Friday Squid Blogging: How Squid Hear
The squid use two closely spaced organs called statocysts to sense sound.
“I think of a statocyst as an inside-out tennis ball,” explains Dr Mooney.
“It’s got hairs on the inside and this little dense calcium stone that sits on those hair cells.
“What happens is that the sound wave actually moves the squid back and forth, and this dense object stays relatively still. It bends the hair cells and generates a nerve response to the brain.”
“They react in about 10 milliseconds,” he says. “That’s really fast; it’s essentially a reflex. That’s really important in terms of behavioural responses because they’re not thinking about processing it; they’re not deciding whether they should react — they’re just doing it.
And he adds: “The responses can be really dynamic. They can be a change in colour; they can be jetting (moving quickly) or inking responses. Squid are also very cool because you can look at a range of colour changes — is it a really startling colour change or a more subtle change?
“Squid can probably use their hearing to find their way around the environment — to sense the soundscape of the environment; for example, to find their way towards a reef or away from a reef, towards the surface or away from the surface.”
As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.