Sunday, January 11, 2009

Discover Camouflage @ Semakau on 10 Jan 2009

Eighty Fourth Discovery Posting:

First of all, look at this picture below. Can you spot anything?Well, there are in fact two spider conchs, First 'discovery', in the picture. Here's a picture of their undersides, so they are obvious to sight (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. It would not be strange for one to be unable to spot them in the wild as the dorsal (topside) surface and margins of a conch is usually covered with a thick layer of algae and other detritus which helps it to blend perfectly into its surroundings.
2. The ventral (underside) surface, however, has a beautiful glossy light brown colouration. This is as seen from the picture above.

So with the algae and detritus to help it bend in and break its shape amongst the surroundings, the spider conch is able to camouflage from itself, either from predators or even from human collectors.

Camouflage is an important tool for animals in the wild to possess. As like the spider conch and noble volute (pictures below and second 'discovery'), camouflage can help animals to survive, in terms of hiding away from predators...
or even using it (camouflage) to hunt for food.

Here's an example, a squid (picture below). Third 'discovery'.Discovery Note:
1. Squids belong to a group of animals called cephalopoda. They include squids, cuttlefishes and octopuses.
2. They are able to rapidly change their colours (a form of camouflage) so as to hide from both predators and prey.
3. If you are interested to read more about them, go to

Sometimes, animals might find camouflage insufficient. So they might hide. For example, our fourth 'discovery', a cryptic sea star (picture below).
The underside (picture below)Discovery Note:
1. Cryptic sea stars are usually found hiding under rocks near the mid-water mark.
2. This may be because they wish to avoid predators and possibly also dessication (the process of drying out).
3. If you are interested to read more about the cryptic star, visit

Some species of flatworms and nudibranches also have 'patterns' which help them to camouflage amongst their surroundings. Here's a flatworm, fifth 'discovery', which i feel make use of camouflage (picture below).
And here's a nudibranch which i feel utilises camouflage also, sixth 'discovery' (picture below)Discovery Note:
1. Now in nature, when something is very colourful, bright and attractive, like some nudibranches or most of them and some species of crab. They are actually warning colours to inform predators that, "I am either poisionous or venomous or probably even BOTH. so eat me if you DARE!"
2. However, there are some creatures which minics these colours or patterns of certain poisonous/vemonous animals to cheat their predators that they are either poisionous or venomous.
3. But this doesn't mean that you can touch 'boring' looking animals in the wild, always consult your guide if you are in a guided walk before you touch anything.

So now, if an animal has no camouflage. Poison or venom? Check. But what if there is neither of each.

Well, then you need a tough skin like a knobbly sea star (picture below), seventh 'discovery'.
Or have spines that poke your predator like eight 'discovery', a heart urchin (picture below). So after reading all these, hopefully you can probably understand now that animals have different adoptions that help them to survive and what are these different kinds of adoptions. =D