Nature on our Doorstep: Hiding in plain sight …
The shape of this Green Shield Bug with the brown wing spot helps it 'disappear' against small leaves

Nature on our Doorstep: Hiding in plain sight …

IN NATURE, every creature has its place in a food chain. It either hunts and eats other creatures or it is prey itself.

Many species have developed ingenious ways to avoid being caught by predators. Likewise, many predators can avoid being seen by prey until the very last minute.

Camouflage helps many creatures to trick watchful observers.

There are different types of camouflage techniques.

One technique is when the colour of a creature helps to conceal it, blending it into the background so that it is no longer obvious.

This is used by polar bears against white snow, or green insects against green leaves.

This unlucky hoverfly never saw the camouflaged Crab Spider until it was too late

Another technique used is mimicry.

This is when a creature pretends to be something it isn’t, perhaps something unpalatable or something dangerous.

This is often seen with insects.

Hoverflies are harmless flies but because their colours make them look like wasps or bees, potential predators will avoid them for fear of being stung.

Insects also use the technique of disguise. As well as using colour, they use their shape and texture to blend in with their background.

Stick insects look like delicate twigs, while the shape of a Shield Bug helps it ‘disappear’ against small leaves.

To survive in nature, it certainly helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

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