Ecology Theory


November 17, 2011, 8:42 pm

Crypsis is the use of anatomy and behavior to hide from potential predators. Cryptic animals are often otherwise palatable to their predators so would never survive if obvious. A prominent example is the Walking Stick but numerous others abound such as the succulent plants of the genus Lithops from Southern Africa. In animals, markings alone are not sufficient to effect crypsis as background matching behavior is also vital. For example, a brown grasshopper is not well hidden if it rests on a bright green leaf. Several authors have demonstrated that cryptic animals typically are in low population densities and most often flee in unpredictable ways when discovered by predators. Crypsis is the preferred term as opposed to camouflage since the latter can also mean predator concealment in order to more effectively attack prey as is seen with numerous types of snakes, large cats, and preying mantis species. Crypsis is in contrast with aposematism.

This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to improve this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.


Evans, D. (2011). Crypsis. Retrieved from


To add a comment, please Log In.