Chiao, Chuan-Chin Department of Life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Hanlon, Roger T. Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Hide in plain sight
- Camouflage body pattern types
- Cephalopod dynamic camouflage
- The eye as a sensor of diverse visual backgrounds
- Camouflage in the eyes of the beholder
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A method used by animals to conceal themselves from an enemy by appearing to be a section of the natural background. Animal camouflage is a strategy that animal organisms use to avoid or deflect the attacks of predators by misleading the latter's visual senses. With the use of camouflage, animals can blend in with their surroundings (Fig. 1). In general, visual camouflage is recognized as one of the commonest and most powerful forces in natural selection and is found in nearly every ecosystem on Earth; yet, curiously, it is one of the least-studied phenomena in biology. Camouflage patterns (resulting from pigmentation, which is the property of biological materials to impart coloration) have evolved in animals of every size and shape, including both invertebrates and vertebrates, and occur in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Camouflage is even employed at night, which is a seemingly odd notion until it is realized that many nocturnal predators have specialized visual systems for seeing well under lighting conditions that humans cannot perceive. See also: Behavioral ecology; Physiological ecology (animal); Pigmentation; Predator-prey interactions; Protective coloration
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