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The English zoologist John Graham Kerr, artist Solomon J.Solomon and the American artist Abbott Thayer led attempts to introduce scientific principles of countershading and disruptive patterning into military camouflage, with limited success.

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In the Second World War, the zoologist Hugh Cott, a protégé of Kerr, worked to persuade the British army to use more effective camouflage techniques, including countershading, but, like Kerr and Thayer in the First World War, with limited success.In particular the replacement of the inaccurate musket with weapons such as the Baker rifle made personal concealment in battle essential.Two Napoleonic War skirmishing units of the British Army, the 95th Rifle Regiment and the 60th Rifle Regiment, were the first to adopt camouflage in the form of a rifle green jacket, while the Line regiments continued to wear scarlet tunics.He wrote that "the scattered green spots upon the under surface of the wings might have been intended for a rough sketch of the small flowerets of the plant [an umbellifer], so close is their mutual resemblance." He also explained the coloration of sea fish such as the mackerel: "Among pelagic fish it is common to find the upper surface dark-coloured and the lower surface white, so that the animal is inconspicuous when seen either from above or below." However, he overstated the case in the 1909 book Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, arguing that "All patterns and colors whatsoever of all animals that ever preyed or are preyed on are under certain normal circumstances obliterative" (that is, cryptic camouflage), and that "Not one 'mimicry' mark, not one 'warning color'...nor any 'sexually selected' color, exists anywhere in the world where there is not every reason to believe it the very best conceivable device for the concealment of its wearer", The English zoologist Hugh Cott's 1940 book Adaptive Coloration in Animals corrected Thayer's errors, sometimes sharply: "Thus we find Thayer straining the theory to a fantastic extreme in an endeavour to make it cover almost every type of coloration in the animal kingdom." Cott built on Thayer's discoveries, developing a comprehensive view of camouflage based on "maximum disruptive contrast", countershading and hundreds of examples.Military camouflage was spurred by the increasing range and accuracy of firearms in the 19th century.

In particular the replacement of the inaccurate musket with the rifle made personal concealment in battle a survival skill.

Among vertebrates numerous species of parrots, iguanas, tree-frogs, and the green tree-snake are examples".

Beddard did however briefly mention other methods, including the "alluring coloration" of the flower mantis and the possibility of a different mechanism in the orange tip butterfly.

Camouflage is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see (crypsis), or by disguising them as something else (mimesis).

Examples include the leopard's spotted coat, the battledress of a modern soldier, and the leaf-mimic katydid's wings.

At sea, merchant ships and troop carriers were painted in dazzle patterns that were highly visible, but designed to confuse enemy submarines as to the target's speed, range, and heading.