Aposematic

ˌapəseˈmadik

Adjective

  • (Of coloration or markings) Serving to warn or repel predators. 
  • (Of an animal) Having aposematic coloration or markings.

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Example Sentences

“Poison dart frogs have bright aposematic designs to warn potential predators that they are venomous.”

“While beautiful, the monarch butterfly’s orange and black aposematic coloring means it’s poisonous to birds.”

“The aposematic coloring of many of the most beautiful animals was developed to tell predators to stay away.”

Word Origin

Greek, late 19th century

Why this word?

“Red touches yellow, deadly fellow. Red touches black, you’re all right, Jack.” This rhyme was coined to help people spot the difference between the deadly coral snake and the benign king snake. The latter reptile is nonvenomous; instead, it has an aposematic pattern meant to fool predators into believing it is a coral snake. Remembering the rhyme may help you avoid a deadly bite — or avoid disturbing an innocent king snake.

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