A team of scientists at the University of Vesquerle in Finland recently found that the simple zig-zag pattern on the back of a European viper has three different roles: one is to help it avoid detection;
Photo by the University of Vesquer, Finland
Camouflage is an important way for animals to avoid predators and catch prey, and by simulating backgrounds, breaking down shapes, and using optical illusions, animals can avoid detection. But camouflage can also serve other purposes, such as chameleons and octopuses camouflaged to blend in, while wasps or poisonous frogs use bright colors and patterns to highlight appearances and warn predators. Zebras and many fish, on the other hand, use a dazzling disguise that uses optical illusions to confuse predators.
The team, led by Janne Valkonen and Johanna Mappes, conducted a series of long-term experiments on the snake and found that the snake’s “”””” glyph camouflage function was not just one, but three.
According to the team, the pattern helps hide the poisonous snake and avoid detection. However, once found, the pattern serves as a warning that the snake is venomous and snake-bites, so stay away. Then, if the viper kicks it, it can be said that the glyph pattern produces a flickering speed faster than the mammalian eye, causing it to take on a chaotic solid shape, like the spokes of a rotating wheel.
Unfortunately for the viper, this trick doesn’t work for raptors, so it still has a chance to be a raptor’s dinner. The team says these combinations in the same pattern suggest that the evolution of this disguise may be more complex than previously thought.
The study was published in the journal Animal Behavior.
Source: University of Weszley