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Some animals who do not want to be found
Use colors to blend with their background.
On a perch of grass the green of a cricket
Makes it hard for a bird to pick it,
So if the bird wants to munch,
It must look elsewhere for its lunch.

Two simple examples of organisms with colors that help them blend into the background.  The first is Conocephalus, a katydid. They are also called bush crickets or long-horned grasshoppers.  True grasshoppers have short antenna.  Katydids, grasshoppers, crickets and locusts are closely related. All have well developed back legs that they can use to jump – quickly projecting themselves out of harm’s way.  This guy, like many katydids, is colored to match the vegetation on which it is likely to sit while it eats.  It is green with elements of brown. If you hunt through the pages here, there are plenty of other examples of organisms that have colors that match where they occur.   It is usually said that the benefit is that predators are less likely to see them.

And the tubby crab spider
Uses her color to hide her.
She’s a more secure inhabitant
In this yellow flowered plant.

The second example is a goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia).  Goldenrods (Solidago) are plants with strongly colored yellow flowers. This species of spider is usually found in and around the flowers.  It is easy to see how the spider’s golden color would make it less likely to be seen by a bird looking for a quick meal, or how the spider might be overlooked by a visiting insect that could become the spider’s prey. 

It can be useful to compare the numbers of legs of spiders and insects (8 vs 6), but sadly these pictures do not show them all clearly (but other pictures in this book may be better).

If you want more information, have comments or questions, please let us know below.

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