Dual-purpose colouration of common eland



Taurotragus oryx photo © Lip Kee Yap


Taurotragus oryx photo © Loco2014


Taurotragus oryx photo © Heather Paul


The northern subspecies of the common eland is perhaps the prime example of a mammal that uses the same pattern of colouration to camouflage itself from its predators when standing still and to advertise itself to its own kind when moving. This is achieved by the appearance – at some distance and in bright sunlight – of a peculiar ‘matt-sheen’ on the face and throat, and by the artful arrangement of various dark features which disrupt the outline when stationary but accentuate any movement. 


Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016


Taurotragus oryx photo © Micha L. Rieser