Concealed by conspicuousness: distractive prey markings and backgrounds
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, Vol. 276, no 1163, 1905-1910 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
High-contrast markings, called distractive or dazzle markings, have been suggested to draw and hold theattention of a viewer, thus hindering detection or recognition of revealing prey characteristics, such asthe body outline.We tested this hypothesis in a predation experiment with blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) andartificial prey. We also tested whether this idea can be extrapolated to the background appearanceand whether high-contrast markings in the background would improve prey concealment. We comparedsearch times for a high-contrast range prey (HC-P) and a low-contrast range prey (LC-P) in a high-contrastrange background (HC-B) and a low-contrast range background (LC-B). The HC-P was more difficult todetect in both backgrounds, although it did not match the LC-B. Also, both prey types were more difficultto find in the HC-B than in the LC-B, in spite of the mismatch of the LC-P. In addition, the HC-P wasmore difficult to detect, in both backgrounds, when compared with a generalist prey, not mismatchingeither background. Thus, we conclude that distractive prey pattern markings and selection of microhabitatswith distractive features may provide an effective way to improve camouflage. Importantly, high-contrastmarkings, both as part of the prey coloration and in the background, can indeed increase prey concealment.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 276, no 1163, 1905-1910 p.
crypsis; predation; dazzle; disruptive coloration; camouflage; background matching
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-30546DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0052ISI: 000264936500021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-30546DiVA: diva2:272846