Did you know that many animals are on the secret side?
The mimetism is one of the most curious phenomens that we can find in the animal world. It consists in the capacity that some of them have to change, both the form of their body and their color, according to the environment in which they are. They use it with the purpose of hide themselves, though also it serves them to attack or to defend themselves. The scientific name of the mimetism is «cripsis» and comes from the Greek (kryptos, the secret thing).
The form of the most habitual camouflage is related to the color, by means of a direct response of the skin, through hormonal mechanisms – in the case of amphibians,- nervous mechanisms – in case of fishes – or by means of mixed mechanisms – as the chameleon-.
The simplest way of visual concealment is one that is achieved by means of the homocromy with the surrounding environment. The color can be fixed, or changeable, adapted to the seasonal changes or to fast changes characteristics of a heterogeneous environment. The first case is illustrated by the Arctic hare, this animal is dun in summer and white in winter, when the whole area is covered with snow. The classic example of the second case is offered by the chameleons or the cuttlefishes, which change rapidly their color when they are moving through of a particular environment. In most cases not only the main color is imitated, also the visual texture. This is observed in benthic animals, as the soles (in fishes case) or cuttlefishes (cephalopods).
Another way is the consisting of the imitation of environment objects. The stick insect is one ofbest experts, being capable of seems a branch. Their body is long and thin also their legs are similar to branches. Some of them do not have wings or these are rudimentary, or sometimes, wings imitate leaves. Their color usually is green or brown, according to where they are placed. Trying to be unnoticed even sway a bit to simulate it’s the wind that moves them. Also the integration of animals is very frequent in the natural depth of their habitat. These species are capable of changing the pigmentation of diverse parts of their body depending on the quantity of light that they receive, achieving the visual integration with elements of the depth. This is called disruptive coloration and is very frequent in frogs, butterflies and fishes as the blanket or the stripe, capable of adopting an identical color to the sandy environment of the depth sea. But also, it is typical of bigger animals as tiger, zebra, seal or the ant bear. A mantis, expert in hiding, looks like a dry leaf and the birds and other predators do not detect it until it is in movement. The males live less than the females due to sometimes in nature, in the moment of copula they are devoured by the female.
Although all this seems like a curious game of forms and colors, the fact is that the mimetism or camouflage of some animals goes far beyond. For some animal species this capacity is really a mechanism that helps them to survive between the species that live around them. A fantasy of nature.