22 May 2008

Seek and hide

Chameleons, it's reported, can fine-tune their colour changes to hide according the visual systems of specific predators. In the presence of a snake, it seems, they don't have to try as hard as they do with birds, which have better vision.

The findings are published not too long after work indicating that chameleons first evolved the capacity to change colours in order to attract the attention of other chameleons.

At least as astonishing are cuttlefish, of whom Les Murray writes:
Spacefarers past living planetfall
on our ever-dive in bloom crystal:
when about our self kin selves appear,
slowing, rubber to pulp, we slack from spear,
flower anemone, re-clasp and hang, welling
while the design of play is jelling,

then enfolding space, jet
every way to posit some essential set
of life-streaks in the placeless,
or we commune parallel, rouge to cerulean
as odd proposals of shape and zip floresce
– till jig-maw apparition
spurts us apart into vague as our colours shrink,
leaving, of our culture, an ectoplasm of ink.

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