A1 Journal article (refereed)
Camouflage in arid environments : the case of Sahara-Sahel desert rodents (2020)

Nokelainen, O., Sreelatha, L. B., Brito, J. C., Campos, J. C., Scott-Samuel, N. E., Valkonen, J. K., & Boratyński, Z. (2020). Camouflage in arid environments : the case of Sahara-Sahel desert rodents. Journal of Vertebrate Biology, 69(2), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.25225/jvb.20007

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsNokelainen, Ossi; Sreelatha, Lekshmi B.; Brito, José Carlos; Campos, João C.; Scott-Samuel, Nicholas E.; Valkonen, Janne K.; Boratyński, Zbyszek

Journal or seriesJournal of Vertebrate Biology



Publication year2020

Publication date12/08/2020


Issue number2

Pages range1-12

PublisherInstitute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Publication countryCzechia

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/71475


Deserts and semi-deserts, such as the Sahara-Sahel region in North Africa, are exposed environments with restricted vegetation coverage. Due to limited physical surface structures, these open areas provide a promising ecosystem to understand selection for crypsis. Here, we review knowledge on camouflage adaptation in the Sahara-Sahel rodent community, which represents one of the best documented cases of phenotype-environment convergence comprising a marked taxonomic diversity. Through their evolutionary history, several rodent species from the Sahara-Sahel have repeatedly evolved an accurate background matching against visually-guided predators. Top-down selection by predators is therefore assumed to drive the evolution of a generalist, or compromise, camouflage strategy in these rodents. Spanning a large biogeographic extent and surviving repeated climatic shifts, the community faces extreme and heterogeneous selective pressures, allowing formulation of testable ecological hypotheses. Consequently, Sahara-Sahel rodents poses an exceptional system to investigate which adaptations facilitate species persistence in a mosaic of habitats undergoing climatic change. Studies of these widely distributed communities permits general conclusions about the processes driving adaptation and can give insights into how diversity evolves.

Keywordsprotective colorationpredatorspreydesertsrodents

Free keywordsAfrica; background matching; crypsis; predation; protective colouration

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Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 14:04