|Facts and Knowledge:
Camouflage is the way in which an animal disguises itself, usually to surprise prey or hide from predators. While the animals color and pattern play important roles in camouflage, so too does its behavior. Examples of camouflage are found among all kinds of animals, from insects to mammals Some animals blend into the surrounding vegetation, while others resemble pebbles or bird droppings. Many of he best examples of animal camouflage are seen in nocturnal insects, which use sophisticated patterns to hide them self by day.
Plant look a likes: Among the greens and the browns of the forest, the well camouflaged animals is spotted or striped with colors that match its surroundings. The praying mantis waits motionless like a leafy twig into its prey comes close. The stick inset is difficult to see among green shoots and dead twigs, and the geometer moth caterpillar is so twig like that it even has a "bud" growing out of its back, The Malaysian horned frog has brown flattened body with dark markings that resemble leaf veins, so it can hide effectively in the dead leaves on the forest floor.
Mammals: The distinctive colors and patterns of the zebra and giraffe help break up their outline, but the exact purpose of these markings in unknown. The lion's sandy color blends into the dry African plains and conceals it as it stalks its prey. The tigers stripes help it blend into the patches of light and shade in the jungle. The sloth of the rain forests hides from its enemies in the wet season when it turns green from algae growing on its fur.
Behavior: Coloring may not be enough to camouflage an animal. A moth with vertical stripes resting horizontally on a tree truck will not match the barks patterns. the bitterns colored stripes would be useless anywhere but in a reed bed. ANimals that most resemble their surroundings are active only at night. They keep still during the day to avoid being noticed. But they may still cast shadows that give them away. the Malaysian flying gecko has flats of skin between its limbs to help soften its outline against the tree trunks on which it lives.
Birds: The females of birds that nest on the ground, such as the pheasant and mallard, are camouflaged by their dull brown, speckled appearance, which helps them blend in with the vegetation near the nest.
The female killdeer lays her spotted eggs in a gravel scrape, where they blend in perfectly. Her black , white, and brown markings hide her from predators when she sites on the eggs.
In series where the male broods the eggs, the male is dull and the female is brightly colored. In the case of the woodcock, where the male and female take turns incubating the eggs, the colors and patters of both sexes blend in without the leaf litter around their nest.
The bitterns vertical body stripes blend in with the reeds where it makes its nest. When it is disturbed, it stretches its neck upward and sways with the reeds, becoming almost invisible. The south American great potoo, with its head pointing toward the sky, resembles a broken branch.
Most birds of the tree canopy have green on their back and lighter colors below. This counter shading hides them against a dark backgrounds when seen from above and against a light background when seen from below . Fish such as barracuda use counter shading to conceal themselves.
Other Disguises: No bird would eat it own droppings, so the caterpillars of swallowtails, pug moths, and Chinese character moths resemble bird droppings. A tropical crab spider wraps its eggs around its body and sticks itself to a leaf with silk threads.
The spider crab attaches live sea anemones and sponges to its shell to make itself blend in with with the seabed. Some caddis fly larvae make cases of stones and sticks in freshwater streams to camouflage themselves and to hide from their prey..
Color Change: The chameleon can change color to fit any background. It sees the colors of its background through both its eyes and detectors in its skin. Colored pigments in its skin ells allow it to use many colors. It takes as long as 15 minutes for the chameleon to change color because the messages from its brain are carried to the pigment cells as chemicals in the bloodstream Other animals, such as the squids and octopuses, can change color in seconds because the messages travel along nerves.
Flatfish such as flounder can change to resemble the seabed, half burying themselves for even greater effect. Frogs., toads, crabs, and prawns may become darker or lighter to match their surroundings. Some birds and mammals molt their summer coats and then grow a winter coat that blends in better with the winter white to resemble winter environment Either gray to match the leafless trees ot white to resemble the snow. the snowshoe hare, arctic fox, oroc ptarmigan, and ermine all turn white.
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