Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Cryptic Coloration

  • Thomas E. WhiteEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_665-1



Colors and color patterns that reduce the risk of an object being visually detected when it is potentially perceivable to an observer


Avoiding detection by undesirable viewers is a key antipredator strategy, and the evolutionary solutions to this challenge are myriad. Crypsis – the use of color patterns to minimize the probability of detection – is the most prevalent form of visual camouflage and has served as an exemplar of adaptation since the inception of modern evolutionary biology (Poulton 1890). The seminal work of Abbott Thayer (1909) in Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom and Hugh Cott (1940) in Adaptive Coloration in Animals lays the formal foundations for the study of crypsis, and camouflage more generally, which has since burgeoned into an active field of inquiry spanning biology, art, and technology (Behrens 2009).


The functions of cryptic color patterns have often...
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Caroline Leuchtenberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal Institute FarroupilhaPanambiBrasil