The Evolution of Color Polymorphism: Crypticity, Searching Images, and Apostatic Selection

  • Bond A
  • 284


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 129


    Citations of this article.


The development and maintenance of color polymorphism in cryp-tic prey species is a source of enduring fascination, in part because it appears to result from selective processes operating across multiple levels of analysis, ranging from cognitive psychology to population ecology. Since the 1960s, prey species with diverse phenotypes have been viewed as the evolved reflection of the perceptual and cogni-tive characteristics of their predators. Because it is harder to search simultaneously for two or more cryptic prey types than to search for only one, visual predators should tend to focus on the most abun-dant forms and effectively overlook the others. The result should be frequency-dependent, apostatic selection, which will tend to stabi-lize the prey polymorphism. Validating this elegant hypothesis has been difficult, and many details have been established only relatively recently. This review clarifies the argument for a perceptual selective mechanism and examines the relevant experimental evidence.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Alan B. Bond

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free