Tag Archives: evolution

sheep change colour

A few weeks ago I wrote about the moths in the UK that are now changing colour as a result of changes in their environment. The species that darkened in colour in response to the industrial revolution is now becoming lighter again – http://colourware.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/moths-change-colour-again/.

Today I came across a story about sheep changing colour; this time in response to global warming, apparently. According to Dr Maloney at the University of Western Australia,  in colder environments, mammals with darker coats absorb more solar radiation and so need to expend less food energy keeping warm than do their lighter counterparts. He has found fewer dark coloured Soay sheet over the last 20 years and links this to changing temperatures. H expects the proportion of dark sheep to decrease further over the coming years. His work was reported in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters but a summary is availale online at The Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5879613/Bye-bye-black-sheep—climate-change-making-sheep-change-colour.html.

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moths change colour again!

We all know the story of the peppered moth that changed its colour from white to black in certain areas of the UK in response to increased pollution. The change made it less obvious to predators against backgrounds of grime and soot.

moths

Well, apparently, 200 years later in post-industrial Britain it’s changing back to it original colour. For the full story go to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/5577724/Moth-turns-from-black-to-white-as-Britains-polluted-skies-change-colour.html

People are being urged to look out for moths, note their colour, and log them at a special web site – http://www.mothscount.org/site/

ps. Apparently moths are not the only thing changing colour – some people say that the white backs of the Apple iPhone 3GS are changing colour with frequent use. Of course, I couldn’t possibly comment

🙂