PROTECTIVE COLORATION IN ANIMALS

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Leena Lakhani (2017)

Animals have range of defensive markings which helps to the risk of predator detection (camouflage), warn predators of the prey’s unpalatability (aposematism) or fool a predator into mimicry, masquerade. Animals also use colors in advertising, signalling services such as cleaning to animals of other species, to signal sexual status to other members of the same species. Some animals use color to divert attacks by startle (dalmatic behaviour), surprising a predator e.g. with eyespots or other flashes of color or possibly by motion dazzle, confusing a predator attack by moving a bold pattern like zebra stripes. Some animals are colored for physical protection, such as having pigments in the skin to protect against sunburn; some animals can lighten or darken their skin for temperature regulation. This adaptive mechanism is known as protective coloration. After several years of evolution, most animals now achieved the color pattern most suited for their natural habitat and role in the food chains. Animals in the world rely on their coloration for either protection from predators, concealment from prey or sexual selection. In general the purpose of protective coloration is to decrease an organism’s visibility or to alter its appearance to other organisms. Sometimes several forms of protective coloration are superimposed on one animal.
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