Reference work entry

Crypsis is a Greek word meaning camouflage. An animal that is cryptic is one that is camouflaged so that it is difficult to discern from its background. The advantage of crypsis in most animals is that it gives protection against predators that detect prey by eyesight. For example, many green caterpillars are camouflaged on leaves, giving them protection against insectivorous birds. Some predators are also cryptic which enables them to get close to prey that detect predators visually. For example, a lion or a leopard crouching in yellow-brown grass is well camouflaged so its prey may inadvertently wander close to it. Among arthropods, the flower mantids Pseudocreobotra and Hymenopus, and the crab spider Misumena(Thomisidae), are all cryptic when resting on flowers while waiting to grab insects that visit the flower for nectar or pollen. Crypsis here could be both a defense against predators and also an aid for capturing insects that visit the flowers but do not see them. However, it...

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© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Central LancashirePrestonUnited Kingdom