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Moth survival.

In "Animals in Disguise" (pp. 4-7), you read about how some animals use adaptations like camouflage and mimicry to hide from predators. Try this hands-on experiment with a partner to test how an animal's coloring can help it survive.

Observe: Camouflage is an adaptation that can allow an animal to hide from predators by blending in with its environment.

Predict: Imagine that a moth is trying to hide from predatory birds. Which body coloring is likely to help the moth survive?

Materials: hole puncher * white paper * two sheets of newspaper * timer * two sticky notes


1. Use the hole puncher to punch 30 circles out of the white paper and 30 circles out of one of the sheets of newspaper. These circles represent different colored moths. Keep the circles and discard the sheets you punched them out of.

2. Place the second sheet of newspaper on the desk in front of you.

3. Decide which partner will represent the predator bird and which partner will be the timekeeper. Have the predator partner turn away from the desk while the timekeeper spreads and mixes the 60 "moths" across the newspaper.

4. The timekeeper should set the timer for 15 seconds. When the timekeeper starts the timer, the predator partner should pick up as many moths as possible. You can only pick up one moth at a time.

5. The moths left on the newspaper after 15 seconds represent the ones that survived. Count the surviving moths of each type of paper and record each on a sticky note.

6. Collect all the moths and have the partners switch roles. Repeat steps 2-5.

7. Stick the notes on the classroom board. Add up the total number of surviving moths of each color.

Results: How many white moths survived? How many newspaper moths survived?


1. Did more white or newspaper moths survive the predator?

2. Use the word camouflage to explain how the moths' color helped or hurt their chances of survival.

3. If you were to repeat the activity on a white paper, how do you think the results would be different?


1. In most cases, more newspaper moths survived the predator's attack. 2. The newspaper moths survived in greater numbers because their camouflage made them hard to see on the newspaper. 3. More white moths would probably survive if you did the activity on white paper.

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Title Annotation:HANDS-ON ACTIVITY
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2016
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