Most animals have some form of adaptation to make them more successful and increase their chances for survival. One such adaptation is camouflage.
In this lesson, we explore the various types of camouflage found in the animal kingdom.
Definition of Camouflage in Animals
Many animals have evolved to exhibit some form of camouflage, which is an adaptation that allows animals to blend in with certain aspects of their environment. Camouflage increases an organism’s chance of survival by hiding it from predators. This gives the animal a higher probability of being able to successfully reproduce and carry on the species. Camouflage is also used by some predators as a tool for hunting.
For them, being able to blend in with their environment gives them an element of surprise and increases their chance of successfully obtaining food.If you ever go to an outdoors or hunting store, you will see clear evidence that camouflage works. As a group, hunters spend millions of dollars each year buying camouflage to help them blend in with the environment. This is one example of a tool that nature perfected and humans also use to their benefit.
Examples of Camouflage in Animals
One animal that uses camouflage to hide in its surroundings is the stone flounder, a flat fish that lies on the ocean floor as it searches for prey.
It is advantageous for these fish to blend in with the gravel or sand found at the bottom of the sea to avoid predators. This camouflage also hides them from prey that may move close enough for them to catch.On the vast savannas of Africa, leopards use their coloration and spots as a hunting tool because it enables them to blend in easily with the tall grasses as they stalk their prey.
Various species of insects, reptiles and amphibians have evolved camouflage that enables them to mimic the plants that they live on or where they spend most of their time. One true master of disguise as a plant mimic is the mossy leaf-tailed gecko of Madagascar. This gecko’s coloration and body shape enable it to blend in remarkably with the stems of trees found in its habitat.The longest species of insect is phobaeticus chani.
These insects use both their body shape and coloration as a form of camouflage. The long stick-like appearance of their bodies allows them to blend in with the trees and plants they crawl on. If approached by predators, they can remain still to avoid being detected. Also, they are most commonly found with brown or green coloration. These colors allow them to blend in with plants, which further aides them in escaping detection.
Overall, many animal species benefit from camouflage. It can help increase their chances for survival in many ways.
As a predator, it allows them to stalk their prey without being seen. As prey, it allows them to sit quietly and hope to avoid detection. Camouflage can be in the form of coloration, such as leopards, stone flounders and geckos, and in the form of body shape, like the phobaeticus chani insect.
Camouflage in Animals Overview
|Camouflage||an adaptation that allows animals to blend in with certain aspects of their environment|
|Stone flounder||a flat fish that lies on the ocean floor to blend in with the gravel or sand|
|Leopards||their coloration and spots are hunting tools because they enable them to blend in easily with the tall grasses|
|Mossy leaf-tailed gecko||gecko’s coloration and body shape enable it to blend in remarkably with the stems of trees|
|Phobaeticus chani||insects who use their long stick-like appearance of their bodies to blend in with the trees and plants where they crawl|
After this lesson ends, you should be familiar enough to:
- Recognize the use of camouflage by some animals
- Give examples of how these animals use this ability in nature