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Amazing Pictures of Camouflaged Animals
Many animals use camouflage to hide from predators or ambush prey. This is basic, elementary life science. But there is more to camouflage than the revelations of a grade-school textbook. There are actually two forms of camouflage: crypsis and mimesis. Crypsis is when an organism is very hard to see. Examples of crypsis include a flounder blending in with a sandy seafloor or a toad hiding in leaf litter. Mimesis is when an organism mimics another organism or object. Examples of mimesis include a katydid mimicking a leaf or a crocodile mimicking a log.
Some camouflaged animals are more obvious than others, especially to us humans because we more easily recognize patterns, but there are many animals that you wouldn't even notice, even if you were looking for them. In the pictures below, you will see many wonderful examples of camouflage (especially crypsis) in action. I photographed all of these animals myself in their natural environments. Some of these animals are prey; some are predators; and some are both. Can you tell which is which? Why do you think they have their current adaptations? Would you have noticed all of them?
Reef cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) on the Great Barrier Reef. Cuttlefish are masters of disguise.
A beaked gecko (Rhynchoedura ornata) hugging the sand in the Australian Outback.
You'd hardly notice this fanbelly leatherjacket (Monacanthus chinensis) off Rockingham, Western Australia.
A female white-tailed deer in Newport News, Virginia, USA blends in well with the brown grass and trees.
A great white shark countershaded against the dark blue waters off South Australia's Neptune Islands.
A crab spider species waits for prey on a buttercup in Newport News, Virginia, USA.
A leopard flounder (Bothus pantherinus) at the North Shore of O'ahu, Hawaii, USA.
A very leaf-like lesser angle-winged katydid (Microcentrum retinerve) in Newport News, Virginia, USA.
The horn shark's floppy fins sway in the current like kelp at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California, USA.
On the other side of the pond in Sydney, Australia, a spotted wobbegong looks even more kelp-like.
A pair of great horned owlets are barely noticeable in the trees in Hampton, Virginia, USA.
Weeping blowfish (Torquigener pleurogramma) at Ammo Jetty near Perth, Western Australia.
Slant-faced grasshopper (Acrida sp.) in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
A bluespotted stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii) brandishing its venomous tail-barb on the Great Barrier Reef.
A well-hidden Fowler's toad in the leaf litter in Newport News, Virginia, USA.
An unidentified sea slug species at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia.
A metallic wood-boring beetle species in Newport News, Virginia, USA.
A Roth's treefrog (Litoria rothi) near Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory.
A flathead (Platycephalus sp.) in the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia.
A pair of peaceful doves feeding among the grass in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
A tiny spidercrab beneath the stinging tentacles of a sea anemone in Perth, Western Australia.
A saltwater crocodile looking very log-like in Australia's Daintree Rainforest.
A grasshopper species among the red sand and rocks of Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory.
An eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) on a fallen tree in Newport News, Virginia, USA.
A mudskipper (Periophthalmus sp.) wallowing in muck in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
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