To be seen or to hide: Visual characteristics of body patterns for camouflage and communication in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama

Zylinski, S, How, M. J., Osorio, D., Hanlon, R. T. and Marshall, N. J. (2011) To be seen or to hide: Visual characteristics of body patterns for camouflage and communication in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama. American Naturalist, 177 5: 681-690. doi:10.1086/659626

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Author Zylinski, S
How, M. J.
Osorio, D.
Hanlon, R. T.
Marshall, N. J.
Title To be seen or to hide: Visual characteristics of body patterns for camouflage and communication in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama
Formatted title
To be seen or to hide: Visual characteristics of body patterns for camouflage and communication in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama
Journal name American Naturalist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-0147
1537-5323
Publication date 2011-05-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1086/659626
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 177
Issue 5
Start page 681
End page 690
Total pages 10
Place of publication Chicago, IL, United States
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It might seem obvious that a camouflaged animal must generally match its background whereas to be conspicuous an organism must differ from the background. However, the image parameters (or statistics) that evaluate the conspicuousness of patterns and textures are seldom well defined, and animal coloration patterns are rarely compared quantitatively with their respective backgrounds. Here we examine this issue in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama. We confine our analysis to the best-known and simplest image statistic, the correlation in intensity between neighboring pixels. Sepia apama can rapidly change their body patterns from assumed conspicuous signaling to assumed camouflage, thus providing an excellent and unique opportunity to investigate how such patterns differ in a single visual habitat. We describe the intensity variance and spatial frequency power spectra of these differing body patterns and compare these patterns with the backgrounds against which they are viewed. The measured image statistics of camouflaged animals closely resemble their backgrounds, while signaling animals differ significantly from their backgrounds. Our findings may provide the basis for a set of general rules for crypsis and signals. Furthermore, our methods may be widely applicable to the quantitative study of animal coloration.
Keyword Camouflage
Communication
Signaling
Image structure
Cephalopods
Vision
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2012 Collection
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 27 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 26 Sep 2011, 01:47:05 EST by Martin How on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute