A new study shows that dull, featureless camouflage provides better protection from predators than zebra stripes.
Biologists who explain the existence of such stripes have proposed the “hypothesis of glare of movement.” This suggests that high contrast patterns can make it difficult for predators to track moving targets.
Scientists at the University of Exeter tested this using a touchscreen game called DazzleBug, where visitors to the Eden Project in Cornwall had to catch a moving rectangular “bug.”
Bug patterns have been programmed to “evolve” to find the best camouflage strategy.
“Surprisingly, the target has lost its pattern and has evolved to match the background instead,” said Dr. Laura Kelly, senior author of the Center for Ecology and Conservation on the Penryn campus in Exeter, Cornwall. I did.
“Our results show that low contrast, non-functional targets are the most difficult to catch when moving.”
Dr. Anna Hughes, the lead author currently enrolled at the University of Essex, said: “The presence of striking patterns in many animals, such as zebras, has confused biologists for over a century, as these markings stand out to predators.
“Early naturalists have suggested that these patterns can create” glare of movement “and make it difficult for predators to estimate the speed and direction of their prey.
“The dazzling pattern was used on World War I ships and has been tested in many studies, but its protective effect remains unclear. This is primarily a small test of a limited range of patterns. Because it is. “
Scientists have used citizen science to tackle this problem. Over 77,000 people have played DazzleBug on the Eden Project, tracking a total of over 1.5 million “bug”.
“Our findings provide the clearest evidence to date for the dazzling hypothesis of exercise, and protection during exercise may rely on a completely different mechanism than previously envisioned. It suggests that, “said Dr. Hughes.
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