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Role of Body Size and Shape in Animal Camouflage
  • hongmin yu,
  • zhixue lin,
  • Fanrong Xiao
hongmin yu
Hainan Normal University
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zhixue lin
Hainan Normal University
Author Profile
Fanrong Xiao
Hainan Normal University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Animal camouflage serves the dual purpose of enhancing predation or anti-predation efficiency through strategies such as background matching, disruptive coloration, countershading, masquerade, and motion dazzle. Although body size and shape determine the visual appearance of animals, potentially affecting their camouflage effectiveness, research over the past two centuries has primarily focused on animal coloration. Over the past two decades, attention has gradually shifted to the impact of body size and shape on camouflage. In this review, we analyze the impact of animal body size and shape on camouflage based on existing research and identify research issues and challenges. The results of existing studies indicate a negative correlation between background matching effectiveness and an animal’s body size, whereas flatter body shapes enhancing background matching. The effectiveness of disruptive coloration is also negatively correlated with body size, whereas irregular body shapes physically disrupt the body outline, reducing the visibility of true edges and making it challenging for predators to identify prey. Countershading is more likely to occur in larger mammal groups with smaller individuals, whereas body size is unrelated to countershading in smaller animal groups. Different body shapes also contribute to variations in countershading effectiveness. Animals employing masquerade achieve camouflage by resembling inanimate objects in their habitats in terms of body size and shape. The camouflaging effect of motion dazzle is negatively correlated with body size; however, the impact of body shape on motion dazzle remains unknown. A significant research gap exists in examining correlations between various camouflage strategies and body size and shape. Further, insufficient exploration of these strategies warrants thorough investigation in the future to better understand the mechanisms and evolutionary factors influencing camouflage in animals. Our review provides a theoretical foundation for the development of novel camouflage strategies.
17 Feb 2024Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
17 Feb 2024Submission Checks Completed
17 Feb 2024Assigned to Editor
12 Mar 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 Mar 20241st Revision Received
03 Apr 2024Submission Checks Completed
03 Apr 2024Assigned to Editor
03 Apr 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Apr 2024Reviewer(s) Assigned