Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature Countershading Nature's Camouflage Share Flipboard Email Print Oliver Marx / EyeEm / Getty Images Animals & Nature Marine Life Key Terms Marine Life Profiles Marine Habitat Profiles Sharks Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Jennifer Kennedy Marine Science Expert M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. our editorial process Jennifer Kennedy Updated February 07, 2019 Countershading is a type of coloration commonly found in animals and means that the animal's back (dorsal side) is dark while its underside (ventral side) is light. This shading helps an animal blend in with its surroundings. Description In the ocean, countershading camouflages an animal from predators or prey. When viewed from below, an animal's lighter belly would blend in with the lighter sky above. When viewed from above, its darker back would blend in with the ocean bottom underneath. Countershading in the Military Countershading has also had military applications. German and U.S. military planes used countershading to hide from their enemies by painting the bottom of the plane white and the top of the plane to match the color of the surrounding area. Reverse Countershading There's also reverse countershading, light on top and dark on the underside, which can be seen in skunks and honey badgers. Reverse countershading is typically seen in animals with strong natural defenses. Alternate Spellings: Counter Shading, Counter-Shading Several rorqual whales are counter-shaded, including fin whales, humpback whales, and minke whales.