How often has someone said to you, “Look at that!” as they point to a grassy area or rocky slope? You scratch your head and think, “Oh, I just missed it.” Then whatever “it” is moves and voila there it is. What was invisible is now seen. You have just been fooled by camouflage. Most animals use some camouflage techniques to increase their chance of survival. They go about their daily business blending into the environment, invisible to their nemesis and sometimes friends, like Superman hiding from Lois and Jimmy, blending in.
Usually coloration to match the background is used. Also design features, such as stripes or patterns, similar to the leaves or twigs where they spend their days, are mimicked. A Walking Stick is a good example of pretending to be what it’s not, or cocoons that look like dead leaves.
Disruptive coloration and pattern break up the natural contour of the body and help to make it invisible. I’m sure you have done that when you have chosen a belt or a patterned blouse to change how the shape of your own figure is perceived.
As naturalists we learn to develop a search image to locate species of interest. Once we find one, then magically we see more and more that were there all along. Sometimes this happens in my own personal life. Recently, I chanced to sit next to a coworker from a different department and we had a nice conversation. She had blended in with all the other employees and previously gone unnoticed by me. What or who is now visible to you…no longer camouflaged?
Squirrel's View [original photos, words and poetic attempts] is an ongoing work of creativity and thought by Cheryl Jennings (c) 2009 , and all rights are reserved by her. To quote from written materials or borrow images, contact her and ask for permission. She welcomes their use for educational purposes but wishes to be notified first. Thanks.