How do squid react to being shocked to the beat of cypris hill?

Well, they probably get annoyed.

Cephalopods have a nifty trick where they can change color by altering the size and shape of chromataphors, or “colored cell thingy blobs”. Like most cells, these chromataphors react to electricity in different ways. Mainly, expanding and contracting.

The folks at Backyard Brains, a group that does neuroscience at home, have decided to run an experiment where they pump the signal from Cypris Hill’s song Insane in the membrane right into the nerve on a fin of a squid to see how the chromatophrs react. Not surprisingly, they pulse to the beat.

Just because it isn’t a surprise, doesn’t mean its not fun to watch.


  1. jimmythecow says:

    I love this on sooo many levels.. the humor, the science, the fun hacks!! finally HAD your getting your pimp game back!

    its starting to look like the old HAD i knew and loved.

  2. NewCommentor1283 says:

    insane lol ahh mother nature, really does run on Volts!

  3. anonymous says:

    Cypress Hill

  4. Roger Wilco says:

    It’s Cypress Hill not Cypris hill. This is cool but will probably not sit well with animal lovers tho

  5. Polymath says:

    PETA: People for Eating Tasty Animals… calamari yum.

  6. Monster Island says:

    Monster Island called.

    Actually, they sent me a text.

    It said they are coming for you. With lots of tentacles and big pointy teeth.

  7. biozz says:

    the same way i react

  8. Chris C. says:

    This gives new meaning to “color organ”.

  9. fartface says:

    So when they going to do the jackass version and clip it to a 100watt amp and then attach the electrodes to the testies and nipples of this “researcher”

    • camerin says:

      first, half of you see the cool insperational side of nature. the other half seem to not understand that animal research is not full of people intentually harming animals for $**ts and gigs, i have had a similar procedure done to my leg. it is simple and painless. elctrodes are attached to the skin and very small voltages are applied.

      2nd a 100 watt amp would probably not reach a high enough potential to penitrate human skin, but if it did would kill the victum out right, and fry all of their nerves. science isn’t distroying things for fun, and you shouldnt either.

      • mike says:

        Uhmm, having actually felt the output of a 400 Watt (RMS) amp designed for pushing into 2ohms, I can categorically state that it hurts ‘quite a lot’. You would not want this on your testicles.

        Having received many other shocks in my time, I’d rate it at worse than Christmas lights & camera flashes.

    • biozz says:

      grab a 1000 watt amp and go for it on your self
      you do it to an animal you go to jail

      100watt wont do a thing

      • M4CGYV3R says:

        First, the squid was already dead. They didn’t hurt it at all.

        Second, comparing the ~0.3v/5mA from a headphone output to the 100v/10A signal of a 1000W amp is ludicrous. They’re not even the same thing. That’s like the difference between licking a 9V battery and touching the hot wire on 120v/60Hz AC.

        Third, neurological cells are mostly consistent in size between animals, meaning the squid’s nerves are made of about the same size cells yours are. This means that there would be very little difference in the capacity to withstand power, at least when applied directly to the nerves as was the case in this experiment.

  10. Steve says:

    What is wrong with you people?!

    The OPs article is straightforward animal torture plain and simple. I simply cannot believe that so many people find causing *needless suffering* to animals so enjoyable!

    As presented, there seems to be *no* redeeming scientific point to or educational basis for this work. This dubious “experiment” is ethically equivalent to Mengele injecting dye into people’s eyes at Auschwitz “just to see what happens”. It is 100% Nazi death science.

    Tell me, if the animal featured in the OPs original experiment was a cute kitten or puppy instead of a squid would you all find this quite so amusing? Some people here need to question themselves I think!

    Moreover I am disappointed that Hackaday have sought to draw attention to – and presumably indirectly profit from, via advertising revenue – something quite so ethically unsound. As budding amateur scientists, this is definitely *NOT* the sought of behaviour that we should be promoting, encouraging or even drawing attention to!

  11. Nitori says:

    Now this is an original hack.
    I love stuff that probes the mysteries of science.

  12. ffffffff says:

    “cypris hill”

    wow, caleb. just wow.

  13. Hirudinea says:

    I can hardly wait to buy the 60″ Hi-Def Flat Squid TV!

  14. Gabriele says:

    This seems to be an horrible way to obtain a useless audio spectrum analyzer. Next time, instead of playing with animals giving them pain for no reason, you can simply install Winamp and MilkDrop plug-in: better results without having animals suffering. Cypress Hill, not Cypris Hill.

  15. fuzzy says:

    Animal activists are like a yard full of Chihuahuas. They sound the alarm at every cricket chirp and squirrel fart until everyone is tired of listening to them. When an actual real issue does come around nobody will listen.

    Cool Hack.

    • Bacchus says:

      The real issue here is about whether this is some nasty, sadistic, adolescent creeps doing unnecessary “research” which is contributing nothing to the fund of human knowledge, or simply some sort of vile-but-cool screensaver. What is cool about this? This sort of effect was being taught when I was at school (circa 50 years ago) but was demonstrated using frogs legs which we had to cut off ourselves. Yeah, electricity stimulates neurons. We’ve known that for well over a century. Google it or get over it.

      By all means love tech, but don’t lose your humanity in the process. When you’ve grown up a bit you may well find that this stuff starts to revolt you and that people who do it for fun start to creep you out because you’ve started to understand what else comes with that psychological package.

      Think of the kids, that *every* school has, who get off on shit like dissecting live insects and seeing what happens when you prod a scalpel into their brains. Are any of them not just sad, alienated, wankers? Yuk Yuk Yuk…

      • Chris C. says:

        I had a similar initial impression. Electricity stimulates neurons, so the result is predictable. Therefore, the experiment is unnecessary, and possibly cruel.

        Then I watched the video, which was unexpectedly fascinating. It was not just entertaining, but also scientifically interesting; as the individual chromatophores responded in more complex ways than I predicted. Therefore, it does have some value.

        The ethics are still debatable. I don’t presume to have the right answer, that’s why I’ve so far stayed out of that aspect of the discussion.

        But your comment makes me want to point out something. Even if you fully know about a scientific principle from dry text, curiosity and wonder at seeing it demonstrated – and especially demonstrating it for yourself – is also a part of being human. For your sake, I hope it isn’t as faded with your advanced years as your comment seems to indicate.

  16. Jakob Eriksson says:

    I am not saying this is EVIL and should be stopped RIGHT NOW.

    I am saying that’s it’s not very fun, and that those of you who feel nothing is wrong here at all, well maybe you guys don’t have as much of the natural impulse for empathy.

  17. Charlie says:

    For those of you justifying it by the miniscule amount of voltage, just remember, this animal is less than 1 pound in size.. What is your weight? Now lets pump up the equivalent voltage for your weight and hook you up.. think you’ll feel it then???

    -1.. Dislike… I recommend removing this post..

  18. Charlie says:

    Just searched for and found the note saying that it was dead.. (small comment at the bottom of the page) I really had to dig for it. But it doesn’t change anything.. Lets do what I wrote above to the guy after he’s dead. What that’s disrespectful? you don’t wanna make him into a dancing zombie?

    HAD.. I’m sorry but you lost one respect point for this post..

    • JJ says:

      “Lets do what I wrote above to the guy after he’s dead. What that’s disrespectful? you don’t wanna make him into a dancing zombie?”

      We are talking about a squid here.

      Nonetheless, if it will help students to understand the body and biology better, then I for one fully consent to using my body in this manner after I’m dead. What use is this body to me at that point, and why should I be concerned about respect?

    • Harry says:

      So you would suggest that we stop eating them as well, since it would be disrespectful to eat dead people? Dare I mention that the squid’s cousin the octopus is routinely eaten alive, and that our most dearest crustation the lobster is BOILED ALIVE before being eaten.

      Base point, if it can be bought at the grocer for eating it is not unethical to zap it with electricity, however it may be ill mannered to play with your food.

    • angela a. says:

      oh so now it isn’t good enough that the creature was dead?! You’re complaining that it’s being turned into a zombie?? This article should’ve been called ‘how do idiots react to a dead squid being slightly shocked to the beat of Cypress Hill!

  19. Sienar Fleet Systems says:

    “Unfortunately, this SME-music-content is not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the respective music publishing rights.”

  20. Joe says:

    Excellent article and the link on the backyardbrains site to the royal society was especially helpful in understanding why this is relevant to science today

    keep bringing them HAD :)

  21. Philippe says:

    From the same people who eat chicken or beef everyday (and sometimes fried calamari)…

    Okay, yes we know electricity is what make nerves tick, great!
    Okay, this does nothing to advance science, granted!
    But the point here is education. The repetition of past experiments helps the learner to understand how we got to the current state of knowledge in the first place. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s intense and that’s what makes so much more memorable than reading about it in a book.

    So stop complaining, or refrain from eating meat altogether.

  22. Josh says:

    I’ve always been a fan of this blog but this is disgusting.
    I can’t understand how you can support torturing an animal just for fun.

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