In nature, most animals are at risk of being attacked by predators. This has led many species to use camouflage as a means of avoiding detection. However, the effectiveness of camouflage is significantly reduced when the animal moves, leading to the need for defence adaptations when in motion..
One such adaptation, flash behaviour, is the focus of newly-published research by Carleton biology researchers Karl Loeffler-Henry and Tom Sherratt, and Changku Kang (former Carleton Post-doctoral Fellow and now Professor at Mokpo National University, South Korea). This defensive behaviour is the exposure of a previously-hidden conspicuous signal when an animal is moving. Although flash behaviour is widespread in the animal kingdom and has captured the attention of naturalists for more than a century, it has been the subject of relatively few studies. In particular, understanding how flash behaviour helps prevent animals from being eaten has remained elusive.