From a butterfly that looks exactly like a dead leaf to an octopus that mimics the colours and behaviour of its predators, we count the top 10 animals with the best camouflage.
10. Pink Orchid Mantis
The colouring of the orchid mantis allows it to camouflage perfectly on an orchid flower. Native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, this amazing creature can grab hold of the flower and sway it back and forth, luring smaller insects closer. It uses a small black dot on its abdomen that resembles a fly to coax its prey within striking distance. It then strikes out with its forearms, capturing its prey.
9. Fantastic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
The fantastic leaf-tailed gecko is also known as the Baweng satanic leaf gecko due to its large, red eyes. Native only to the northern and central tropical forests of Madagascar, the gecko’s skin matches the colour and patterns of the foliage on surrounding trees. Its camouflage is further enhanced by its tail which has irregular grooves along its sides resembling the shape of a leaf. The fantastic leaf-tailed gecko uses its effective disguise to avoid predators and also has the ability to voluntarily shed its tail if attacked.
8. Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar
Unlike most of the animals on this list, the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar does not use its camouflage to blend into its surroundings. It uses it to mimic a more dangerous animal – the common green snake. Just before it is ready to pupate, it develops a swollen thorax and two large dots that resemble eyes. It also mimics the movements of the snake by rearing up and retracting its head as if it is preparing to strike. This behaviour deters birds from attacking the caterpillar as they are the natural prey of the snake.
7. Tawny Frogmouth
The tawny frogmouth is a bird found throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania. Its grey and brown streaked plumage allow it to camouflage as a broken tree branch. It will often point its head upwards, further accentuating the shape of the limb it is perched upon. The tawny frogmouth will usually not break its cover unless a predator approaches too close, in which case it will take flight. If threatened, tawny frogmouths will make an alarm call that signals to their chicks to remain motionless and silent ensuring they do not break their cover.
6. Tasseled Anglerfish
The tasseled anglerfish is only found in the waters off the coast of Southeastern Australia. Its body is covered with root-like tentacles that help it to camouflage amongst the coral and sponges found in its natural habitat. When it is motionless, it is almost impossible to spot with the naked eye. The tasseled anglerfish’s browny-white colouring and dark red tentacles further add to its disguise, allowing it to blend in with the surrounding plant life.
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