Camouflage is form and color that blends with the environment and for example make it difficult for a predator to spot a prey... But what is the correct word when the "camouflage" is not made to blend in?

The best example is perhaps the zebra: Black stripes on white doesn't exactly blend in. Rather than hiding the zebra in the environment, the purpose seems to be to "break-up" the form of the individual zebra in the flock, so they all sort of floats together - making it difficult for a predator to target any one (particular) among them. I guess you could say the stripe lets a zebra become "invisible" inside the flock, but...

So is there another word that better describe this than "camouflage"?

3 Answers 3


In WWI the US Navy painted their ships in complex patterns to confuse enemy ships.

Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle (in the U.S.) or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I, and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. ... It consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other.

Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed, and heading. (Wikipedia)

While I would not necessarily suggest that you use the terms razzle dazzle or dazzle camouflage I believe this demonstrates that camouflage still applies.


Disruptive coloration (also known as disruptive camouflage or disruptive patterning) is a form of camouflage that works by breaking up the outlines of an animal, soldier or military vehicle with a strongly contrasting pattern


In the case of the zebra and it's camouflage: smithsonian

If zebra stripes aren’t related to predators, social status or basic survival, why are they there? For now, the question seems destined to remain one of wildlife’s most beautiful mysteries.

Thermoregulation? livescience tsetse flies? UC Davis

So is there another word that better describe this than "camouflage"?

Unknown! It may not be camouflage at all.


One zebra being hidden among other zebras due to its looks is one of the senses of camouflage . . .

However, another word for the concept of "hiding in plain sight" is obscurity:


1 : one that is obscure
2 : the quality or state of being obscure


1 c : not clearly seen or easily distinguished : FAINT • obscure markings

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