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Author Topic: Natural colour coding  (Read 3515 times)

another_someone

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Natural colour coding
« on: 08/03/2006 19:07:42 »
It occurred to me that some colours in nature are used as a deterrent (such as yellow and black to create high visibility for poisonous animals, and I think red and black for poisonous vegetation), but what colours are regarded as safe.

Clearly, in general, camouflage colours are relatively safe, because an animal or plant would have little need of camouflage if it it had an effective alternative deterrent, but some plants actively advertise that they have safe edible components which they are willing to use as a bribe for any animal that will help them pollinate or disperse seeds.

Since many pollinating are airborne, and tend to have fairly good vision in the ultra violet, thus advertising in the ultraviolet might be a good medium to attract these animals (hence, maybe some plants that look black to us, and thus maybe a mammal might believe it to be toxic, may look quite differently to birds or flying insects).  What other colours are used to advertise safety?



George


 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #1 on: 08/03/2006 19:22:06 »
Fanatic question!

It makes me what to think about safe for what to eat to mate with or walk past? If you were a hunter then you like to be a wolf in sheep clothing.


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Offline Hadrian

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #2 on: 08/03/2006 19:26:56 »
Maybe its not about Natural colour coding at all. maybe it about getting attention or not getting it as a survival method.  Maybe it us who colour code colours. just a maybe!

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another_someone

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #3 on: 08/03/2006 21:40:57 »
quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian

It makes me what to think about safe for what to eat to mate with or walk past? If you were a hunter then you like to be a wolf in sheep clothing.




It has to be about safe to eat, because being safe to mate with is going to be a highly species specific question – a goat really does not need to know whether a sheep is safe to mate with, nor a sheep know whether a cow is safe to mate with; but fruit may be more variable in who it wishes to advertise to (although clearly some fruit or flowers can again be highly closely linked to a certain species of animal, and they maybe do not need such general colour coding; but fruit of flowers that are designed to attract a range of species would logically need a signal that was understood by a wide range of species).



George
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #4 on: 08/03/2006 22:40:33 »
What about traffic lights ?...are they safe to hump and eat ?


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Offline Hadrian

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #5 on: 09/03/2006 09:03:32 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

What about traffic lights ?...are they safe to hump and eat ?




It would depend on what was flashing :D

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ROBERT

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #6 on: 14/03/2006 12:14:56 »
quote:
Originally posted by another_someone

It occurred to me that some colours in nature are used as a deterrent (such as yellow and black to create high visibility for poisonous animals,



Some animals pretend to be poisonous (false advertising):-
"The poisonous coral snake is ringed
with red, yellow, and black, with red
and yellow rings touching. Nonpoisonous
mimics of the coral snake
(such as the scarlet king snake) have
red and yellow rings, separated by
black rings. A helpful saying to memorize
is: “Red on yellow, kill a fellow;
red on black, friend of Jack.” ".
« Last Edit: 14/03/2006 12:21:26 by ROBERT »
 

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Re: Natural colour coding
« Reply #6 on: 14/03/2006 12:14:56 »

 

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