warning coloration

  1. 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

Words Nearby warning coloration

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use warning coloration in a sentence

  • There are no grounds, however, for supposing that the mantids had any appreciation of the warning coloration of the Acraeines.

    Mimicry in Butterflies | Reginald Crundall Punnett
  • The preceding outline will sufficiently explain the characteristics of "warning coloration" and the end it serves in nature.

    Darwinism (1889) | Alfred Russel Wallace
  • The Monarch is thus an example of what has often been called warning coloration.

    Butterflies Worth Knowing | Clarence M. Weed
  • Along with the theory of warning coloration the theory of mimicry has been propounded.

    Butterflies Worth Knowing | Clarence M. Weed

Scientific definitions for warning coloration

warning coloration

[ wôrnĭng ]

  1. 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.