Evolutionary of Camouflage and Stealth


Camouflage and Stealth in the Evolutionary Arms Race

The arms race between predator and prey is as old as nature, and is a prominent selective force in evolution of species.
Page within: Evolution
Also of related interest: Trilobites; Paleozoic Paleobiology

Camouflage and Evolution What goes on in a hunters mind when he is out in the deer wood, in a blind and wearing his nifty camo? If he thinks he’s cleverer than nature, he would be mistaken. Lurking all around him are animals that also use camo to hide from predators, or sneak stealthily up on prey. Our hunter predator, if a true woodsman, knows this, and also knows that he or his blood makes him also prey where creatures that are not fooled by his camo gear. What he likely does not know is that natural selection beat him to the stealthy camouflage game by more than a half billion years.

One means of stealth is blending into the background. The fossil record shows evidence dating to the great Cambrian radiation of such evolved blending in, but it almost certainly started way before that alongside sight whether in grey scale or color. Above left, military sniper, a U.S. Marine and fighter jets on a camouflaged pad. On the right, the 400 million year old Devonian phacopid trilobite, Eldregeops, with color patterns preserved; illustration of dinosaur age predatory lacewing insect (Neuroptera family Chrysopoidea) larvae with evolved trichomes to collect trash from where it is and thus blend with background; followed by bark mantis, (order Mantodea), leafhopper (Hemiptera), and a leaf mantis that have evolved specific colors an patterning for a particular habitat..