University of Exeter scientists compared the colour patterns of common shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) from rock pools with those living on mudflats.
They found that crabs from mudflats closely matched the appearance of the mud they live on, while rockpool crabs did not match the background but instead relied on "disruptive colouration" -- the use of high-contrast patterns to break up the appearance of the body outline.
Shore - Crabs - Crab - Britain - Coasts
Shore crabs are the most common crab found on Britain's coasts, familiar to anyone who goes rock pooling, and the crabs examined in this study came from six sites in Cornwall.
"The crabs are highly variable in colour and pattern, and are often extremely difficult to see," said Professor Martin Stevens, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
Image - Analysis - Predator - Bird - Fish
"We used image analysis simulating predator (bird and fish) vision to test how shore crabs camouflage themselves.
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