Camouflage - Camouflage By Mimesis

Camouflage By Mimesis

Further information: Mimicry

In mimesis (also called masquerade), the whole animal (or piece of military equipment) looks like some other object, which is of no special interest to the observing animal or enemy. Mimesis is common in prey animals, for example when a Peppered Moth caterpillar mimics a twig, or a grasshopper mimics a dry leaf.

Mimesis is also employed by some predators (or parasites) to lure their prey. For example, a flower mantis mimics a particular kind of flower, such as an orchid. This tactic has occasionally been used in warfare, for example with heavily armed Q-ships disguised as merchant ships.

As an example of mimesis, consider the Common Cuckoo, a brood parasite. The female lays her eggs in nests of other species of bird, always smaller than the cuckoo, one per nest. The female mimics a Sparrowhawk. This makes small birds take action to avoid the apparent predator. The female cuckoo then has time to lay her egg in their nest without being seen to do so. The cuckoo's egg itself mimics the eggs of the host species, reducing its chance of being rejected.

A different, non-camouflage strategy is mimicry, where an animal boldly resembles another animal that is poisonous or distasteful: it is then easily seen, but avoided.

  • Peppered Moth caterpillars are superb twig mimics on birch (left) and willow (right) branches

  • Flower Mantis lures its insect prey by mimicking a Phalaenopsis orchid blossom

  • Hooded Grasshopper Teratodus monticollis, superbly mimics a leaf with a bright orange border

  • This Grasshopper hides from predators by mimicking a dry leaf

  • WWII tank hid from the enemy in Operation Bertram by mimicking a truck

  • Armed WW1 Q-ship lured enemy submarines by mimicking a merchantman

  • Cuckoo adult mimics Sparrowhawk, giving female time to lay eggs parasitically

  • Cuckoo eggs mimicking smaller eggs, in this case of Reed Warbler

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Military Tactical Gear - Camouflage By Mimesis
... Further information Mimicry and Cryptic aggressive mimicry In mimesis (also called masquerade), the whole animal (or piece of military equipment) looks like some other object ... Mimesis is common in prey animals, for example when a Peppered Moth caterpillar mimics a twig, or a grasshopper mimics a dry leaf ... Mimesis is also employed by some predators (or parasites) to lure their prey ...