Adaptive Colouration in AnimalsADDPMP706
The general method of Adaptive Colouration in Animals is to present a wide range of examples from across the animal kingdom of each type of colouration, including marine invertebrates and fishes as well as terrestrial insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The examples are supported by many of Cott’s own drawings, diagrams and photographs. This essentially descriptive natural history treatment is supplemented with accounts of experiments by Cott and others.
The book is divided into three parts:
● Part 1: concealment, covering the methods of camouflage, which are colour resemblance, countershading, disruptive colouration and shadow elimination.
● Part 2: advertisement, covering the methods of becoming conspicuous, especially for warning displays in aposematic animals. Examples are chosen from mammals, insects, reptiles and marine animals.
● Part 3: disguise, covering methods of mimicry that provide camouflage, as when animals resemble leaves or twigs, and markings and displays that help to deflect attack or to deceive predators with deimatic displays.
Cott’s textbook was at once well received, being admired both by zoologists and naturalists. Published during World War II, comparing the camouflage of animals to that used in the military, it was also admired by allied soldiers. Many officers carried a copy of the book with them in the field. Since the war, it has formed the basis for the experimental investigation of camouflage, while its breadth of coverage and accuracy have ensured that it remains frequently cited in scientific papers.