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Animal Camouflage: Mechanisms and Function

Edited By: Martin Stevens and Sami Merilaita

357 pages, Col & b/w photos, figs, tabs

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jul 2011 | #189612 | ISBN-13: 9780521152570
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £28.99 $38/€33 approx
Hardback | Jul 2011 | #189626 | ISBN-13: 9780521199117
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £75.99 $99/€87 approx

About this book

In the last decade, research on the previously dormant field of camouflage has advanced rapidly, with numerous studies challenging traditional concepts, investigating previously untested theories and incorporating a greater appreciation of the visual and cognitive systems of the observer. Using studies of both real animals and artificial systems, this book synthesises the current state of play in camouflage research and understanding. It introduces the different types of camouflage and how they work, including background matching, disruptive coloration and obliterative shading.

It also demonstrates the methodologies used to study them and discusses how camouflage relates to other subjects, particularly with regard to what it can tell us about visual perception. The mixture of primary research and reviews shows students and researchers where the field currently stands and where exciting and important problems remain to be solved, illustrating how the study of camouflage is likely to progress in the future.


1. Animal camouflage: an introduction Martin Stevens and Sami Merilaita; 2. Crypsis through background matching Sami Merilaita and Martin Stevens; 3. The concealment of body parts through coincident disruptive coloration Innes C. Cuthill and Aron Szekely; 4. The history, theory and evidence for a cryptic function of countershading Hannah M. Rowland; 5. Camouflage breaking mathematical operator and countershading Ariel Tankus and Yehezkel Yeshurun; 6. Revisiting Abbott H. Thayer: non-scientific reflections about camouflage in art, war and zoology Roy R. Behrens; 7. Camouflage behaviour and body orientation on backgrounds containing directional patterns Richard J. Webster, Alison Callahan, Jean-Guy J. Godin and Thomas N. Sherratt; 8. Camouflage and visual perception Tom Troscianko, Christopher P. Benton, P. George Lovell, David J. Tolhurst and Zygmunt Pizlo; 9. Rapid adaptive camouflage in cephalopods R. T. Hanlon, C. C. Chiao, L. M. Mathger, K. C. Buresch, A. Barbosa, J. J. Allen, L. Siemann and C. Chubb; 10. What can camouflage tell us about non-human visual perception? A case study of multiple cue use in the cuttlefish Sarah Zylinski and Daniel Osorio; 11. Camouflage in marine fish Justin Marshall and Sonke Johnsen; 12. Camouflage in decorator crabs: integrating ecological, behavioural and evolutionary approaches Kristin Hultgren and John J. Stachowicz; 13. Camouflage in colour changing animals: trade-offs and constraints Devi Stuart-Fox and Adnan Moussalli; 14. The multiple disguises of spiders Marc Thery, Teresita C. Insausti, Jeremy Defrize and Jerome Casas; 15. Effects of animal camouflage on the evolution of live backgrounds Kevin R. Abbott and Reuven Dukas; 16. The functions of black and white colouration in mammals: review and synthesis Tim Caro; 17. Evidence for camouflage involving senses other than vision Graeme D. Ruxton; Index.

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Martin Stevens is a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow based in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. His research focuses on sensory ecology and behaviour and has covered bird colour vision, computational models of colour and spatial vision, anti-predator markings, brood parasitism and cuckoos and sexual signals and vision in primates. Sami Merilaita is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow in the Department of Biology, Abo Akademi University, Finland. His research focuses on questions related to the evolution and function of animal colouration, especially with regard to prey concealment. He has also studied anti-predator signalling, factors influencing maintenance of colour polymorphism and sexual selection.

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