Hiding Camouflage and Mimicry

A widespread and effective protection strategy is the avoidance of recognition by predators. For example, many grasshoppers, toads, or butterflies are perfectly adapted to their natural habitat, exhibiting shape, color, and texture that match with their environment. The black-and-white pattern of the zebra's coat provides protection against its major predator, the lion, because the

Figure 1 Chitin as major component of the exoskeleton of arthropods.

Chitin 1

Figure 1 Chitin as major component of the exoskeleton of arthropods.

colorblind lion has difficulty in picking one victim out of a herd of zebras standing closely together as well as in spotting them with their defilade matching the pattern of the surroundings.

Besides such advanced hiding techniques, some animals do just the opposite and appear in bright colors that are easily visible. Since intensive colors are usually a warning sign of well-protected toxic organisms (aposematism), some non-toxic organisms just mimic the appearance of the toxic ones and are avoided as well. A well-known example is the viceroy butterfly Limenitis archippus that exhibits a nearly identical orange-brown and black pattern of its wings as the toxic monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). As a consequence, birds that learned to avoid the bad-tasting monarch butterflies will also not touch L. archippus.

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