Document Detail

Disruptive contrast in animal camouflage.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16959632     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Camouflage typically involves colour patterns that match the background. However, it has been argued that concealment may be achieved by strategic use of apparently conspicuous markings. Recent evidence supports the theory that the presence of contrasting patterns placed peripherally on an animal's body (disruptive coloration) provides survival advantages. However, no study has tested a key prediction from the early literature that disruptive coloration is effective even when some colour patches do not match the background and have a high contrast with both the background and adjacent pattern elements (disruptive contrast). We test this counter-intuitive idea that conspicuous patterns might aid concealment, using artificial moth-like targets with pattern elements designed to match or mismatch the average luminance (lightness) of the trees on which they were placed. Disruptive coloration was less effective when some pattern elements did not match the background luminance. However, even non-background-matching disruptive patterns reduced predation relative to equivalent non-disruptive patterns or to unpatterned controls. Therefore, concealment may still be achieved even when an animal possesses markings not found in the background. Disruptive coloration may allow animals to exploit backgrounds on which they are not perfectly matched, and to possess conspicuous markings while still retaining a degree of camouflage.
Martin Stevens; Innes C Cuthill; Amy M M Windsor; Hannah J Walker
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  273     ISSN:  0962-8452     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2006 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-09-08     Completed Date:  2007-01-16     Revised Date:  2013-06-07    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2433-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Models, Biological
Predatory Behavior
Selection, Genetic
Visual Perception
Comment In:
Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Oct 7;273(1600):2425-6   [PMID:  16959630 ]

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