An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Countershading

Countershading is a common color pattern in animals in which the upper side of the animal is darker than the lower side.  This color pattern provides camouflage for the animal when viewed from the side, above or below.  The counter shading pattern balances the sunlight on the animal’s back and the shadow beneath the animal so as to blend the animal’s side profile with its surroundings.  In addition, when viewed from below, a counter-shaded animal with a light belly blends into the light coming from the sky above. When viewed from above, the darker back of a counter-shaded animal blends into the darker ground colors below.   Birds (which spend a considerable amount of time in the air) such as this dark-eyed junco, as well as marine animals often exhibit countershading.

2 responses

  1. Susan Brown

    I look forward to your e-mails. I learn something new from everyone…..Thank you!

    October 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    • That is so nice to hear, Susan. Thank you.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

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