A squid has been caught on video apparently 'dancing' as it wiggles its tentacles before a willing customer who then deposits the sea creature into his mouth whole.
Its trembling legs give the gross facade that the animal is still alive, after the customer sprinkles the delicacy with salt.
The strange reaction is an automatic response to sodium chloride, and although the deceased squid may lack a functioning brain, its muscle cells, which receive electrical commands, are still intact.
Charles Grisham, a chemistry professor at the University of Virginia, explained the process: "Most of the tissue in an organism that's recently dead, recently killed, is actually still alive.
"In this case, even though the brain function is missing, the tissues will still respond to stimuli."
The squid's muscles still retain Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main source of energy for muscle contractions. Therefore, when the sodium is absorbed into the creature's body, it triggers muscle spasms that appear to make the cephalopod dance.
Of course, a specimen must be fairly fresh for the substance to elicit this reaction, according to the report by NPR journalist Robert Krulwich.
The same sort of effect can be seen in the legs of recently-killed frogs.
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