I’ll See your Aposematism and Raise you Invisibility


I want to thank Ace of Spades for the tip.


I learned a new word. I went to Wikipedia where the lazy person goes to look shit up. As usual, Wikipedia got it partly right.  There is more to the definition than the Wikipedia definition. and I have kindly supplemented their efforts.


Aposematism (from Greek ἀπό apo away, σῆμα sema sign) is a term coined by Edward Bagnall Poulton[1][2] for Alfred Russel Wallace’s concept of warning coloration.[3] It describes a family of antipredator adaptations in which a warning signal is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item to potential predators.[4] The unprofitability may consist of any defenses which make a prey difficult to eat, such as toxicity, foul taste or smell, or aggressive nature. Aposematism always involves an advertising signal which may take the form of conspicuous animal colorationsoundsodors [5] or other perceivable characteristics. Aposematic signals are beneficial for both the predator and prey, since both avoid potential harm.

Aposematism is exploited in Müllerian mimicry, where species with strong defenses evolve to resemble one another. By mimicking similarly colored species, the warning signal to predators is shared, causing them to learn more quickly at less of a cost to each of the species.

A genuine aposematic signal that a species actually possesses chemical or physical defenses is not the only way to deter predators. In Batesian mimicry, a mimicking species resembles an aposematic model closely enough to share the protection, while many species have bluffing deimatic displays which may startle a predator long enough to enable an otherwise undefended prey to escape.

Here are some of the additional factors to consider when discussing Aposematism. I suspect the warning colors may include, blue but not gray, plaid but not paisley, and bold but not pastel. Most types of Camo probably apply.

Wear and tear may add to the warning level but new clothes creases detract. Fresh beer fumes may excite while last night’s stale beer fumes may serve as a warning. The odor of BO and horse shit may repel attackers while simultaneously detract from the mating ritual. Stainless steel, nickel, and blued metal, when tucked into or otherwise fixed to a belt, may increase the effect, provided that the metal is parallel to the body. The effect is lessened for every ten degrees the accessory leans out from the body. Belts worn low on the hips increase the effect while points are lost for every inch above the belly button.

A bad attitude has no effect on aposematism. With aposematism in full bloom, the bad attitude causes people to avoid you for fear that the combination of the two will trigger a negative response. In the absence of aposematism, people will still avoid you, because they don’t have the time or interest to listen while your latest aches, pains and bowel movement are recounted in great detail.

So there is some give and take as we age. We lose whatever protection that aposematism may have provided. While there is something to be said for youth, old age and treachery and invisibility may be the great equalizer.