Camouflage vs Mimicry
Survival in the environment demands umpteen amounts of adaptations from all the species. Those adaptations are physiological, morphological, anatomical, or behavioural. Most of the species prefer to get the best of others, through predation or from any other mean, and animals are notorious for this. Therefore, animals, especially, have to develop many survival adaptations. That is the preciousness of life, and it is not a sweet journey to survive and thrive in the world. Camouflage and mimicry are two of those miraculous morphological adaptations shown by animals. Despite the both are morphological adaptations developed for the survival, there are some considerable differences between camouflage and mimicry.
Camouflage is a mean of an external colouration present in most of the animals that especially blends with the appearance of the living environment. The colouration patterns present in the animal’s body highly resembles the appearance of the environment that it lives. Camouflage is an adaptation to be unnoticed for the other animals, especially from predators for prey animals or the other way around. Camouflage has three major means of achieving it known as Mimesis, Crypsis, and Dazzle.
In animals with mimesis camouflage, the animal could be seen as another object. Leaf insects would be the best example to understand the mimesis.
A particular animal is almost unable to spot when it shows the crypsis camouflage. Cheetah in savannahs has spots in golden brown background, which blends it with the environment in such a way that the predator is unable to be spotted by the prey animals. Animals change their body colourations into a snow-white colour coat in the winter to appear as snow. However, these animals could be spotted when their shadows are visible. Therefore, some animals have adapted with extra precautionary measures with flattened bodies and blending colourations, so that the shadow is eliminated. The flat-tailed horned lizard in deserts is a great example for the shadow eliminating cryptic camouflaging animals.
Zebra colouration is an example for the third type of camouflage, dazzle. Zebras cannot be spotted correctly even when they move through the wilderness. The phenomenon of camouflage has been serving the animals to be protected as well as being unnoticed or distracted.
Mimicry is a type of camouflage, Mimesis, which befuddles other animals with the appearance. Mimicry is a kind of an act that resembles the real animal as another. It involves a range of techniques to resemble others through mimicking the external appearance, sounds, scents, and behaviours. Usually, the mimic deserves the protection from its predators by resembling as a dangerous animal. However, mimicry has three major aspects known as Defensive, Aggressive, and Reproductive.
Warning colourations present in some non-venomous colubridae snakes have patterns as exactly as the venomous kraits. Sometimes, a predatory animal would have the appearance of a harmless animal, so that it would be convenient to get close to the prey animals. The zone-tailed hawk looks like turkey vultures and inhabit around them as well; the hawk then feeds on the vultures suddenly. The hawk’s colouration and behavioural tactics are examples of aggressive mimicry. Reproductive mimicry can be observed among animals as well as plants. Flowers of some plants resemble leaves or something else that is of no use for the consumer, so that the flower is safe until reproduction is complete. Mimicry has been a tactic used by animals and plants, to sustain their lives through befuddling others.
What is the difference between Camouflage and Mimicry?
• Camouflage is mainly a colouration tactic to being unnoticed or protected, whereas mimicry is totally a tactic to befuddle other animals.
• Camouflage sometimes hides the animal, whereas mimicry never hides the animal or plant.
• Camouflage usually applies to animals, but mimicry can be found in plants, as well.
• Camouflage does not have any hidden danger to the consumer of a particular animal, while aggressive mimicry always has a hidden danger.
• Camouflage usually resembles the environment, but mimicry resembles other animals.