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7 Masters of Disguise in the Animal Kingdom

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4. Mural moth


Moths are famous for being able to imitate their environments to blend in, but the mural moth is really something special. It has coloration that mimics the appearance of other insects, but it goes one step further: viewed from above, the moth looks like a pair of bugs eating some bird droppings. But there’s more! These moths also produce a bird poop-like odor to add to the illusion. Above and beyond in the service of camouflage.

5. Leaf insects

Also known as walking leaves, these examples from the insect world are rather impressive.

A leaf insect resting on a person's hand. They blend in impeccably with leafy trees and shrubs, which keeps them safe from predators looking for a tasty snack, and as you can see in this image, even when they’re away from their leafy homes, they still give a credible imitation. Evolution 1, Predators 0.

6. Malaysian orchid mantis

Mantises are found in lots of regions of the world, but Malaysia has something particularly special; a beautiful white variant that evolved to blend in with orchids. They’re difficult to spot in amongst the petals of the flowers they call home, which gives them a definite advantage when it comes to evading animals that might view them as food; they look so much like orchid flowers that the eye skates right over them!

7. Scorpionfish

Coral, or something else?

A scorpionfish camouflaged in coral.

You can probably see the fish lurking in this picture, but check out that coloring and rough skin. Scorpionfish, including this one, have evolved to hide in corals by masquerading as the coral itself. This keeps them safe from predators, but it can also be menacing for visitors to coral, because they have sharp venomous spines, and if you don’t look where you’re doing, you just might run into one.

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Photo credits: Lyn Gately, D. Gordon E. Robertson, Steve Childs, Alexey Yakovlev, Matthew Kenwrick, Luc Viator and prilfish. Top Photo from Thinkstock

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453 comments

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9:16AM PST on Dec 29, 2013

beautiful ))

9:46AM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

all of these are so awesome. shared

9:29AM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

5:20AM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

Thanks for the article.

8:14AM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

Thanks

1:09PM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Thanks for posting.

7:04AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Very cool, the wonders of mother nature never cease to amaze...
Thanks for posting...

8:33PM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

very interesting, thanx for sharing! =0)

8:53AM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

I find it so satisfying to learn about the wonders of nature. I will never stop being "awed" by the spectacle of the kinds of things I saw here.
Thank you.

7:39AM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

I love this stuff, and I especially love the mimic octopus. So smart!

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