Gila monster ecology story illustration

show/hide words to know

Aposematism: bright colors, loud noises, or other easily detectable features of an animal that act as a warning to predators about toxins, venoms, or other defenses. A bee's yellow and black colors are an example of aposematism......more

Gila Coloration 

Gila monster coloration

Close up, Gila monster color patterns act as a warning. But from far away, they can help them blend into their surroundings.

When you spot a Gila monster in the wild, they are usually already pretty near to you. Then, the first thing you probably notice is their orange and black coloration. When they were far away, those colors helped them blend into the desert background, making them difficult to see. This is especially true if they are under a bush or tree, with bits of light and shade. But up close, their colors act as a warning to predators, letting them know that they are venomous and can defend themselves.

Such bright and dark colors (especially in stripes or repeating patterns) sometimes serve as warning coloration, or aposematic coloration. Some researchers even think that juveniles have brighter colors and have colors in a more striped pattern, to act as a stronger warning to predators. And if the predators don’t listen, they may end up with a painful bite, whether from an adult or a baby Gila monster.


Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Poison dart frog image by V2.

View Citation

You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Gila Monster Coloration
  • Author(s): Karla Moeller
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: February 4, 2020
  • Date accessed: October 24, 2020
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/fr/node/5027

APA Style

Karla Moeller. (2020, February 04). Gila Monster Coloration. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved October 24, 2020 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/fr/node/5027

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Karla Moeller. "Gila Monster Coloration". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 04 February, 2020. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/fr/node/5027

MLA 2017 Style

Karla Moeller. "Gila Monster Coloration". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 04 Feb 2020. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 24 Oct 2020. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/fr/node/5027

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Ranitomeya amazonica
A poison dart frog that uses black and orange stripes to warn off predators.

Be Part of
Ask A Biologist

By volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteers page to get the process started.

Donate icon  Contribute

Share this page:

 

Share to Google Classroom