Karen Hopkin, Karen Hopkins, Bristol discussed on 60-Second Science

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This is scientific Americans, sixty seconds, science. I'm Karen Hopkin. All nature may be read in to thank law, but one plucky caterpillar dresses in orange and black to avoid becoming somebody's lunch. What's really surprising though, is that this distinctive set of strives can service both a warning or is camouflage depending on how far away It is from the viewer animals can deploy color as a defence mechanism and a couple of ways. Some shades and patterns help potential pray blend into the background. Whereas bold markings often serve as a signal that an animal is unpalatable. For example, chock full of toxins. Resolution and often seen as mutually exclusive, an alternative mechanisms, but on natural conditions is distinction is less clear-cut. Jim Barr head of the University of Bristol, who led the study to explore whether the same coloration might do double duty, allowing an animal to be obvious under some conditions, But unseen in others. They focused their attention on the caterpillars of cinnabar moths these larvae sport, bright orange and black stripes. Their vivid appearance was believed to remind the birds who may have eaten others of their kind that they are none-too tasty. Thanks to their diet of alkaloid rich ragwort plans. The researchers snapped photos of the caterpillar's in suburban green spaces around Bristol, and they used a visual muddling program to give them a bird's eye view of what the caterpillars look like. Either close up lower from farther away. Firm. Fringe constraints are highly conspicuous these rights colors distinguish it quite easily from direct with background, but were viewed from distance big blend together to form a color, which is actually quite difficult to discern from the background color. So what we think is going on is that the caterpillar is getting the best of both worlds close up the stripes sake keep your distance, but from a distance, They allow the caterpillars to hide in plain sight. The results can be seen in the Journal Royal Society, open science. The finding is a reminder. Don't forget to step back and see things from a different perspective. Thanks for listening for a scientific Americans, sixty seconds, science. I'm Karen Hopkins.

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