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Scientists have shown how vibrantly-coloured animals can increase their chances of survival by using camouflage to hide in plain sight.
Researchers in Bristol showed how the gleaming, metallic wings of jewel beetles help them to conceal themselves against plants to hide from predators.
Purposes - Animals - Eye - Mates - Warn
Being brightly coloured was previously thought to have two main purposes – to help animals catch the eye of potential mates or warn predators that they may be poisonous.
While male peacocks display colourful feathers to attract the opposite sex, for example, monarch butterflies use their wings to signal to predators that they carry a toxin.
Birds - Insects - Iridescent - Coating - Research
By comparing how effectively birds catch insects with and without this iridescent green coating, the research team have shown a third purpose – camouflage.
'Our study is the first solid evidence for the idea that iridescence can work as highly-effective form of camouflage, and ultimately this could explain why iridescence has evolved in so many different species of animals,' said Dr Karin Kjernsmo, an evolutionary and behavioural ecologist at the University of Bristol and first author on the study.
Iridescence - Ability - Colour - Angles - Nature
Iridescence – the ability to gradually appear to change colour when viewed from different angles – is common in nature.
'Iridescence has evolved independently in everything from jewel-like insects to shimmering birds and can even be spotted in your garden in insects such as Rose Chafers and Rosemary beetles,' said Dr Kjernsmo.
Bristol - Team - Metallic - Colours - Species
The Bristol team wanted to find out why vivid metallic colours had evolved in so many species of animals, from insects, to birds and reptiles.
They conducted a study using the vivid metallic jewel beetle, Sternocera aequisignata, which is known for its iridescence.
Team - Beetles - Leaves - Forest - Survival
The team placed iridescent and non-iridescent beetles on leaves in the forest and noted their survival against attacks by wild birds.
Thanks to the bright green exterior of the beetles, they would have been hard to spot among...
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