opsin

When you look into eyes, forget about romance, creation, and the windows into the soul. With their molecules, genes, and tissues derived from microbes, jellyfish, worms, and flies, you see an entire menagerie.
—  Neil Shubin, Your Inner Fish

The octopus can see with its skin

Octopuses are well known for changing the colour, patterning, and texture of their skin to blend into their surroundings and send signals to each other, an ability that makes them both the envy of, and inspiration for, army engineers trying to develop cloaking devices. As if that wasn’t already impressive enough, research published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that octopus skin contains the pigment proteins found in eyes, making it responsive to light.

Reference: Ramirez, M. D. & Oakley, T. H. (2015). Eye-independent, light-activated chromatophore expansion (LACE) and expression of phototransduction genes in the skin of Octopus bimaculoides. J. Exp. Biol. doi: 10.1242/jeb.110908.

The common octopus (Octopus vulgaris). New research shows that octopus skin contains the light-sensitive opsin protein, suggesting that these clever cephalopods can “see” without using their eyes. Photograph: Dave King/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

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Opsin

Ivan Villafuerte