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The colorful plumage of Nicobar pigeons shimmers depending on the light in different shades. It is believed that the many colors confuse and distract the predators. (Photo: Konrad Wothe)

Das bunte Federkleid der Nikobarentauben schillert je nach Lichteinfall in unterschiedlichen Farbnuancen. Vermutet wird, dass die vielen Farben die Fressfeinde verwirren und ablenken sollen. (Foto: Konrad Wothe)

The colorful plumage of Nicobar pigeons shimmers depending on the light in different shades. It is believed that the many colors confuse and distract the predators. (Photo: Konrad Wothe)

For millions of years, evolution has produced many different forms in the animal kingdom. Some shine in the most dazzling colors, while others merge with their surroundings. The different patterns and colors are used for deterrence, camouflage or to attract.

The color combinations yellow-black and red-black usually give a clear signal in the animal kingdom: be warned! For animals with this color, such as fire salamanders or wasps, are usually very defensive or poisonous for their predators. If a bird tries to catch a wasp, for example, it will be stung and in the future avoids insects with this color. This not only benefits the wasp. It is not eaten and the bird is spared sting.

Original and fake

However, there are also animals with these warning colors that are harmless. The hoverfly for example: It looks a bit like the wasp - and benefits from it. Because birds would not eat the wasp aka hoverfly. Biologists call this type of deception mimicry.

Other animals are about to make themselves almost invisible. When the short-eared owl sits in the tall grass, it hardly stands out. She remains motionless until she runs a mouse in front of her beak and only has to snap it shut. Even when breeding on the ground, she and her offspring are well hidden.

In some mammals, the camouflage behavior has been perfected by evolution to produce a lighter or darker coat color, depending on the seasons. The polar fox, for example, is snow-white in winter and black-brown in summer. So it fuses with its environment, no matter what season - and can easily stalk his prey or hide from enemies. display

Colorful and unusual

To hide from prying eyes is by no means the intention of these bird specimens, which the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace once described as the most beautiful and extraordinary feathered inhabitants of the earth: the birds of paradise of New Guinea. The females are usually rather unremarkable. The males, however, are hard to miss. They shimmer in all colors, have antennas, pennants, veils, long tails and perform lavish courtship dances - all this, how could it be otherwise, to impress the ladies.

These different facets and strategies in the animal kingdom have captured the photographer Konrad Wothe with his camera. The many close-up and macro shots highlight beetles, butterflies and other creepy-crawlies. Even though mammals such as lions, tigers and co., With their rather brown fur pattern, look rather pale next to the colorful birds and amphibians from the rainforest - they do not lose their beauty.

At the beginning of the individual chapters, Martin Rasper explains in short texts where the different colors come from, which strategies are behind them and which colors are actually perceived by the respective animals. What, for example, hardly anyone knows: Most birds are able to perceive ultraviolet radiation. Through Raspers detailed explanations, the photos are almost self-explanatory. This allows the reader to fully revel in Wothes pictures.

To the book:

Konrad Wothe, texts by Martin Rasper
Bright and invisible
Colourfulness and camouflage in the animal world
Knesebeck Verlag, Munich 2015, 192 pages with 200 color illustrations, 34.95

the authors

Already at the age of eight Konrad Wothe got his first camera as a gift and since then has been experimenting with photography. After graduation he worked together with the German animal filmmaker Heinz Sielmann. Then he decided to become a nature photographer and filmmaker. His works have already received many awards. In 1999, the Society of German Animal Photographers named him Nature Photographer of the Year. (Photo: Knesebeck Verlag)
Martin Rasper has been working as an editor and author for more than 20 years, including for natur, PM and the S ddeutsche Zeitung. In the Knesebeck publishing house appeared last of him the book J ger of the light ". (Photo: Knesebeck Verlag)
Science.de - Meike Seibert
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