Do you ever wish you could just quietly sink into a hole or melt into the background to avoid someone? Well, unfortunately for us, we’re not usually allowed to do that, but it’s a legitimate survival strategy in the animal world, especially for insects and fish. Lots of our animal cousins blend into their backgrounds with color patterns that match bark, grasses, and other habitats, but some go the extra mile: they pretend to be someone else.
1. Leafy sea dragon Check out the picture below. Looks like a clump of kelp or something, right?
Look again. What you’re actually seeing is a leafy sea dragon, a seahorse relative found in Australia. While it might not have the same sleek, familiar body type as the seahorse, it does have another trick up its sleeve: it hides from potential predators by looking like some boring old ocean detritus. Like the seaweeds they imitate, they drift through the ocean waters, and yes, the men are responsible for raising the young of the household. Gender progressivism and camouflage in one package!
2. Owl butterfly
You know how it is. You’re drifting through the evening looking for an insect to round off your meal when you suddenly spot an owl that looks ready to chow down. Time to duck out of the way and head in the opposite direction before you’re noticed. Only this time, you got totally played by a butterfly: a butterfly with a big eye spot designed to stand out, looking like the eyes of a hungry owl glowing in the dark.
3. Mimic Octopus
One of my personal favorites, and not just because I love octopi.
The mimic octopus, native to Indonesia, takes color-changing very seriously. It doesn’t just blend in with its background; it’s capable of pretending to be other ocean animals in addition to plants, hiding in plain sight from potential predators and prey alike. In this image, it’s pretending to be a cluster of poisonous sea snakes. But it’s not just faking the look: these intelligent creatures also mimic the behaviors of the animals they’re impersonating. Pretty nifty, eh?
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