[ELI5] Why is black-and-white so common between totally different species of animals?


Orcas, magpies, pandas, penguins, zebras, skunks, just to name a few.

In: Biology

Id assume thats it is the largest difference in contrast. So any predators that can see contrast better than they can see individual colours will likely be confused by the pattern. Zebras mimic blades of grass, penguins the dark water when looking down onto them, and the bright sky when looking up to them (underwater).


Many animals especially ones that fly or swim use countershading where they have a white underside and a black upper side. this helps because when looked down they blend in with the dark ground and when looked at from below the blend in with the light sky.

O course this is less of a thing for striped ground animals, who use their coloration to blend in among their environment.

Black and white works because not all animals see the same colors and trying to match the coloration of a special environment would only make you stand out more in others. Black and white goes with everything.