A bottlenose dolphin’s light underside helps it blend in with the surface above.

When looking at a bottlenose dolphin, you may notice that its back is dark, its belly is light, and its sides are in-between. Because of this, dolphins are capable of using a form of camouflage called counter shading. Counter shading works like this: A predator of dolphins (a shark or a killer whale) is swimming below a bottlenose dolphin. The predator is looking for something to eat, but it may not be able to recognize the dolphin swimming above it because the dolphin’s light belly blends in with the light surface of the water above, helping to break up its shape in the water. This works the same way if a predator is swimming over a dolphin – the dolphin’s dark back blends in with the dark ocean below.