Sunday, July 03, 2005

Why Stick Insects can't join the SAS

Stick Insects haven't really thought things through, have they?

Their camouflage is brilliant - they do look just like sticks, and when it comes to hiding in trees, your average stick insect is the SAS award winner for "Mr Camouflage 2005" - however I suspect that it really isn't helping them all that much. Here's why:

The whole camouflage thing - as far as I can see, there are 2 main reasons for camouflage. It allows you to sneak up on stuff and eat it - and it allows you to hide from things that want to eat you.

So, the orchestra plays the creepy music, the tension mounts, and Mr Stick-ey sneaks silently,slowly, totally unnoticeable through his tree - and then (with a crescendo of drums and cymbals) pounces on his prey.... Which, lets face it, is going to be a leaf, isn't it. Not the most difficult thing to creep up on. "The Leaf" generally isn't noted for its hair-trigger reactions, its powerful running style, or its ability to retreat instantly into a protective burrow, drawing down a lid made out of its own droppings and saliva? You don't really need camouflage to catch a leaf - in fact, you don't even need to climb the tree - just sit underneath, wait until Autumn and you will have more than you can possibly imagine, no problem at all.

So - The Stick Insect clearly doesn't need the camouflage for "eating stuff". So, it has to be so it will "not be eaten" - presumably by birds and stuff. And again, at that its pretty good. Your average bird comes along, sees a stick insect, thinks "nope, I'm not hungry enough to eat a stick - lets go find a nice juicy caterpillar instead". So, so far Mr Stick-ey and his SAS-like skills are working just fine.

But what happens in springtime? When Mr Bird comes along, thinks "nope, still prefer eating caterpillars....But heeeey - that stick would look really good fastened to the edge of my nest!".

All of a sudden Mr Stick-ey isn't quite so clever now, is he? Eaten, no, bitten in half, carried up a tree, woven into the foundations of some bird house - yes. Net effect - still dead. Doh!

Translate it back to the SAS - your average mujahadeen warrior is walking down the road, looks at the roadside and thinks "Hmmm - I've not seen any of these SAS soldiers anywhere at all, but hey, isn't that a Habitat 6 place dining suite with fold out table leaves in brushed oak, next to an aluminium double glazing unit for a 8' by 5' bay window? - that'd look great in my mud hut!" Camouflage as household objects and building materials , it's not that effective. is it....

Hand back the SAS "king of camouflage" total Mr Stick-ey - you need to think again...

1 comment:

Mentally Challenged said...

I decided to give your "rubbish"
a try. Very informative. I
discovered I must be a "Stick"
blogger. On my two blogs I have
several "Camouflage" disguises.
(Mentally Challenged, Batman,
Boston Blackie, Marshal Ernie,
Seargent Preston of the Yukon)

Come on over and comment something
on my "rubbish".