Scientists are holding a Twitter argument right now about which animals sport the best spots on their fur or skin. Is it the cheetah, Ranitomeya frogs, or orange spotted filefish? Nominations — alongside cute animal pictures — are being tweeted out under the hashtag #BestSpots.
The debate over “most beautiful spotted animal” seemed to have started when Anne Hilborn, a PhD student at Virginia Tech who studies cheetah hunting behavior, posted a photo of a cheetah earlier today. Sophie Gilbert, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Idaho, then replied, posting the photo of a deer and asking what are the world's most beautiful spotted animals. Hence, the argument started.
Other ecologists, biologists, and wildlife photographers then began posting their own images of beautiful spotty creatures. Whether you like spiders, frogs, deer, fish, or monkeys, you’re likely to find one you love — with dots!
Spots on skin or fur help animals camouflage. Leopards, for example, are often in areas where there are patches of sun and shade. Their dark spots over a beige background fur can help them go unnoticed to their prey.
Regarding the #BestSpots argument, I agree with Anne Hilborn. Cheetahs are rad: they are the fastest land mammals — able to sprint to a speed of 60 miles per hour in three seconds. And they need to drink only once every three / four days. And, they have beautiful round polka-dots. What else do you want?