PLANT AND ANIMALS MIMICRY AND CAMOUFLAGE RELATIONSHIP
Mimicry is characterized by the superficial resemblance of two or more organisms that are not closely related taxonomically. This resemblance confers an advantage—such as protection from predation—upon one or both organisms by which the organisms deceive the animate agent of natural selection. Here, instead of trying to blend into the surrounding environment the insect is mimicking or trying to look like something else. Camouflage may be as simple as dark colouring but it can also be very elaborate. Some insects have stripes, spots, or other patterns that make them look like leaves, rocks, tree bark, and all sorts of other things. The better they blend in with their environment the less likely they are to become someone’s dinner. We present an analysis, based on realistic assumptions about low-level vision that estimates the distribution of background colours and visual textures, and predicts the best camouflage. The insects are blending according to the plant background colours and moreover these insect species are blending their colours only at particular plant species.
Key words: Mimicry, Camouflage,
Camouflage, also called cryptic coloration, is a defence or tactic that organisms use to disguise their appearance, usually to blend in with their surroundings. Organisms use camouflage to mask their location, identity, and movement. This allows prey to avoid predators, and for predators to sneak up on prey.A species’ camouflage depends on several factors. The physical characteristics of the organism are important. Animals with fur rely on different camouflage tactics than those with feathers or scales, for instance. Feathers and scales can be shed and changed fairly regularly and quickly. Fur, on the other hand, can take weeks or even months to grow in. Animals with fur are more often camouflaged by season. The arctic fox, for example, has a white coat in the winter, while its summer coat is brown.
The behaviour of a species is also important. Animals that live in groups differ from those that are solitary. The stripes on a zebra, for instance, make it stand out. However, zebras are social animals, meaning they live and migrate in large groups called herds. When clustered together, it is nearly impossible to tell one zebra from another, making it difficult for predators such as lions to stalk an individual animal.A species’ camouflage is also influenced by the behavior or characteristics of its predators. If the predator is colour-blind, for example, the prey species will not need to match the color of its surroundings. Lions, the main predator of zebras, are colour-blind. Zebras’ black-and-white camouflage does not need to blend in to their habitat, the golden savannah of central Africa.
Environmental and behavioural factors cause species to employ a wide variety of camouflage tactics. Some of these tactics, such as background matching and disruptive coloration, are forms of mimicry. Mimicry is when one organism looks or acts like an object or another organism. Camouflage can be attained via mechanisms such as background matching (resembling the general background) and disruptive coloration (hindering the detection of an animal’s outline).
A different way in which an animal’s pattern and colouring can conceal it from predators, or allow it to trick prey, is disruptive camouflage. This form of camouflage involves a pattern of light and dark patches, stripes or spots, which often appear to make the individual more obvious, not less. However, these patterns can help to disrupt the outline or shape of the animal, which can prevent an observer from recognising it as a threat or potential prey item.
Counter shading is a form of camouflage in which the top of an animal’s body is darker in colour, while its underside is lighter. Sharks use counter shading. When seen from above, they blend in with the darker ocean water below. This makes it difficult for fishermen—and swimmers—to see them. When seen from below, they blend in with lighter surface water. This helps them hunt because prey species below may not see a shark until it’s too late.
There is a strong selective advantage to being well camouflaged. Indeed, some of the first evidence for the neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolution was shown with observations of the melanistic camouflage of moths (Kettlewell and Conn, 1977, Kettlewell, 1956)
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