STANFORD (CBS SF) – Researchers at Stanford University strapped cameras on squid off the coast of Mexico and found the sea creatures likely use visual patterns to communicate and to hide themselves from predators, according to a study released this week.

Their study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found Humboldt squid rapidly change their body colors from red to white to red again, in what researchers called “flashing.” They believe the behavior could be a way the squid speak with each other.

“The frequency and phase relationships [synchronization] between squid during flashing can be changed and this suggests that there is some information being conveyed that makes minute control over these details important to the squid,” Stanford researcher Hannah Rosen told the journal.

The researchers made their findings with the help of so-called “Crittercams” from National Geographic that were strapped onto the squid using Lycra-like “sweaters.”

Another behavior found by researchers is called “flickering,” where the squid produce waves of red and white across their bodies, likely to camouflage themselves from predators near the surface. They also observed what could be mating behavior of the squid.

Researchers plan to outfit more squid with cameras.

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