a bold, distinctive pattern of color characteristic of a poisonous or unpalatable organism, as the skunk or the monarch butterfly, that functions as a warning to and defense against predators.
Origin of warning coloration
First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Conspicuously recognizable markings of an animal that serve to warn potential predators of the nuisance or harm that would come from attacking or eating it. The bold patterns of skunks and the bright colors of poison arrow frogs are examples of warning coloration. Also called aposematic coloration Compare camouflage.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.