Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Cryptic Coloration

  • Thomas E. White
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_665-1

Synonyms

Definition

Colors and color patterns that reduce the risk of an object being visually detected when it is potentially perceivable to an observer

Introduction

Avoiding detection by undesirable viewers is a key antipredator strategy, and the evolutionary solutions to this challenge are myriad. Crypsis – the use of color patterns to minimize the probability of detection – is the most prevalent form of visual camouflage and has served as an exemplar of adaptation since the inception of modern evolutionary biology (Poulton 1890). The seminal work of Abbott Thayer (1909) in Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom and Hugh Cott (1940) in Adaptive Coloration in Animals lays the formal foundations for the study of crypsis, and camouflage more generally, which has since burgeoned into an active field of inquiry spanning biology, art, and technology (Behrens 2009).

Mechanisms

The functions of cryptic color patterns have often...
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References

  1. Barry, K. L., White, T. E., Rathnayake, D. N., Fabricant, S. A., & Herberstein, M. E. (2015). Sexual signals for the colour-blind: Cryptic female mantids signal quality through brightness. Functional Ecology, 29, 531–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Behrens, R. R. (2009). Revisiting Abbott Thayer: Non-scientific reflections about camouflage in art, war and zoology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 364, 497–501.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cott, H. B. (1940). Adaptive coloration in animals. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  4. Newark, T., Newark, Q., & Borsarello, J. F. (2002). Brassey’s book of camouflage. London: Brasseys UK Limited.Google Scholar
  5. Poulton, E. B. (1890). The colours of animals: Their meaning and use. Especially considered in the case of insects. London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner, & Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Rowland, H. M. (2009). From Abbott Thayer to the present day: What have we learned about the function of countershading? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 364, 519–527.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Stevens, M., & Merilaita, S. (2009). Animal camouflage: Current issues and new perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 364, 423–427.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Thayer, A. H. (1909). Concealing coloration in animal kingdom: An exposition of the laws of disguise through color and pattern. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Caroline Leuchtenberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal Institute FarroupilhaPanambiBrasil