Kings of Camouflage

25 May 2011

As beautiful and fascinating nature can be, endowed with its unique complexity, as rough and simple are the rules for survival: the weakest one loses! However, not only size and strength, but also intelligence and craftiness determine who stays alive.

While for the giants of the sea like whales, sharks and rays humans are the biggest concern, there are much smaller creatures well equipped to camouflage themselves to hide – either to protect themselves or to surprise their prey.

Species belonging to the family of scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae) that includes some of the world’s most venomous species really are kings of camouflage. While the lionfish presents itself proudly in beautiful colours and shape, the stonefish and the tassled scorpionfish prefer not to be seen. Frogfish look like a sponge, an octopus changes colours, and creatures like leaf fish don’t even look like belonging to the underwater world.

The change in colour is caused by so-called chromatophores that contain pigments. Modified by hormones and impulses coming from the nerve endings, fish change colour as a response to the time of day (night/day), a specific activity (mating), a threat (hiding), or even mood. Furthermore, octopus can use muscles in the skin to change texture of their mantle.

Check out the 3rd seasons final Episode 10 of “The Last 7 Days on Kuredu” and visit the “Kings of Camouflage” – but watch attentively or you might miss someone!