Camouflage

Innes Cuthill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Animal camouflage has long been used to illustrate the power of natural selection, and provides an excellent testbed for investigating the trade-offs affecting the adaptive value of colour. However, the contemporary study of camouflage extends beyond evolutionary biology, co-opting knowledge, theory and methods from sensory biology, perceptual and cognitive psychology, computational neuroscience and engineering. This is because camouflage is an adaptation to the perception and cognition of the species (one or more) from which concealment is sought. I review the different ways in which camouflage manipulates and deceives perceptual and cognitive mechanisms, identifying how, and where in the sequence of signal processing, strategies such as transparency, background matching, disruptive coloration, distraction marks, countershading and masquerade have their effects. As such, understanding how camouflage evolves and functions not only requires an understanding of animal sensation and cognition, it sheds light on perception in other species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-92
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Zoology
Volume308
Issue number2
Early online date18 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • camouflage
  • defensive coloration
  • animal coloration
  • crypsis
  • visual perception

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