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Author Topic: Who's fooling who?  (Read 2905 times)

Offline Don_1

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Who's fooling who?
« on: 28/07/2011 12:08:56 »
Many animals and even plants defend themselves by bluff. The Frill Necked Lizard, when confronted with danger, lifts the flap of skin behind it's head to make it look bigger and more intimidating than it actually is. Even the beautiful Peacock Butterfly has large black dots on it's wings to imitate the large eyes of a very much larger and, therefore, not such easy pickings, animal than the small and fragile insect that it is.

Then there are those which are definitely not bluffing. The Poison Dart Frog's vivid colours, the Cobra's hood and the Scorpion Fish's spikes are a warning to be taken very seriously.

But what about these two:


One is the very dangerous Coral Snake, the other a non venomous Scarlet Kingsnake.

And these two:

OK, these two may not look alike, but the harmless Gopher Snake can imitate the rattle of the dangerous Prairie Rattlesnake.

Now the Gopher Snake is certainly mimicking the Rattler as a means of protection, but could it be that Coral snake is mimicking the Kingsnake in order to make itself less threatening and thereby lulling its prey into a false sense of security?

Might it be that some predators have evolved to become a wolf in sheep's clothing? There are certainly those which use deception to make themselves merge into the background, so why not take on the appearance of a harmless creature to get up close to your prey?


 

Offline neilep

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Who's fooling who?
« Reply #1 on: 28/07/2011 13:34:49 »
Excellent thread Don1...I employ the same principle with my imitation of a bath sponge !...This allows me to infiltrate bathrooms and "acquire" many bottles of shampoo !
 

Offline CliffordK

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Who's fooling who?
« Reply #2 on: 28/07/2011 16:24:11 »
I wonder if the snakes independently evolved similar camouflage due to being in the same environment.  I suppose that it wouldn't hurt for the weaklings on the block to develop a camouflage similar to the bullies. 

There are some notes that some snake venom may be primarily a defensive mechanism. 

http://io9.com/5822527/snakes-evolved-venom-as-part-of-their-eternal-war-with-opossums

Essentially snakes can only east what they can swallow, so the ability to kill large animals can not be for foraging. 
 

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Who's fooling who?
« Reply #2 on: 28/07/2011 16:24:11 »

 

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