One of the most distinctive and defining features of coleoid cephalopods—squid, cuttlefish and octopus—is their inking behavior. Their ink, which is blackened by melanin, but also contains other constituents, has been used by humans in various ways for millennia. This review summarizes our current knowledge of cephalopod ink. Topics include: (1) the production of ink, including the functional organization of the ink sac and funnel organ that produce it; (2) the chemical components of ink, with a focus on the best known of these—melanin and the biochemical pathways involved in its production; (3) the neuroecology of the use of ink in predator-prey interactions by cephalopods in their natural environment; and (4) the use of cephalopod ink by humans, including in the development of drugs for biomedical applications and other chemicals for industrial and other commercial applications. As is hopefully evident from this review, much is known about cephalopod ink and inking, yet more striking is how little we know. Towards closing that gap, future directions in research on cephalopod inking are suggested.
Derby, C.D. Cephalopod Ink: Production, Chemistry, Functions and Applications. Mar. Drugs 2014, 12, 2700-2730. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/md12052700
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