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Masquerade: camouflage without crypsis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Skelhorn


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Masquerade describes the resemblance of an organism to an inedible object and is hypothesized to facilitate misidentification of that organism by its predators or its prey. To date, there has been no empirical demonstration of the benefits of masquerade. Here, we show that two species of caterpillar obtain protection from an avian predator by being misidentified as twigs. By manipulating predators' previous experience of the putative model but keeping their exposure to the masquerader the same, we determined that predators misidentify masquerading prey as their models, rather than simply failing to detect them.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Skelhorn J, Rowland HM, Speed MP, Ruxton GD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2010

Volume: 327

Issue: 5961

Pages: 51

Print publication date: 01/01/2010

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science


DOI: 10.1126/science.1181931

PubMed id: 20044568


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