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Animals that resemble natural objects can evade their predators much better than those who use other kinds of camouflage techniques. Predators took four times as long to find animals that disguised themselves as these natural objects than undisguised animals.
João Vitor de Alcantara Viana at the State University of Campinas in Brazil worked with his colleagues to try to understand how camouflage has evolved.
“A comparison between the types of camouflage had never been done,” said Vitor de Alcantara Viana. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to understand how camouflage evolved and how the types of camouflage interact.”
To figure this out, his team compiled data from 84 different publications on various predators and prey. Most studies were surrounding insects being hunted by birds, fish, or humans in real-life or simulation environments.
The researchers found that animals that can do any type of camouflage increased their predator’s search time by an average of 63 percent and decreased their likelihood of an attack by 27 percent. Camouflage methods like blending into a backdrop of having different color patterns only increased predator search time by around 55 percent.
Impressively, animals that used masquerade camouflage, in which they resemble a rock, plant, or poop, were able to increase their predator’s search time by a whopping 295 percent.
Researchers hope to learn more about how animals camouflage and how their skills have evolved to avoid their predators.
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