Vermiculation is a surface pattern of dense but irregular lines, as though made by the tracks of worms; the word derives from the Latin for worm. The word may be used in a number of contexts, for patterns that have little in common. The adjective "vermiculated" is more often used than the noun.
Vermiculation naturally occurs in patterns on the feathers of certain birds, for which it may provide either camouflage, or decoration. It also appears in architecture as a form of rustication where the stone is cut with a pattern of wandering lines. In metalwork, vermiculation is used to form a type of background found in Romanesque enamels, especially on chasse reliquary caskets. In this case the term is used for what is in fact a dense pattern of regular ornament using plant plant forms and tendrils.
Several species of owls are named for their vermiculated patterns:
- Vermiculated fishing-owl (Scotopelia bouvieri), an owl species found in Africa
- Vermiculated eagle-owl or greyish eagle-owl (Bubo cinerascens), an owl species
- Vermiculated screech-owl (Megascops guatemalae), an owl species
- See, e.g., Iain Campbell, Sam Woods, Nick Leseberg, Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide (2014), p. 110.
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- Vermicularis (disambiguation), a Latin word with the same meaning, part of many taxonomic names