Get the lowdown on nature’s greatest bluffers, imitators and imposters.
Master of disguise - The mink octopus
Best ‘I’m a leaf’ camouflage – The dead-
These bugs are superb leaf impersonators which help them remain invisible to insect-
Most revolting camouflage – Bird dropping spider
Prettiest insect camouflage – The orchid mantis
The beautiful orchid mantis uses its dazzling features to blend in perfectly with white orchids. It sits and waits as unsuspecting insects, such as wasps, are lured towards it, thinking it to be a flower. Unluckily for them, they’re very much mistaken.
Best seasonal camouflage – The arctic fox
In winter, against the white of the Arctic snow a brown fox would stand out like a sore thumb. Which is why they grow a thick white winter coat that keeps them warm and camouflages them. Clever fox
Camouflage of confusion – The zebra
With their stripes, zebras are easy to spot on the savannah. But from a hundred metres away their stripes mirror the waviness of the air and help them blend into the shimmering horizon. They also make it very difficult for a predator to single out an individual.
Best snake camouflage – The gaboon viper
In the open this snake is pretty easy to spot but amongst fallen leaves -
Best fish camouflage – The stonefish
The stonefish is another predator who is a master of disguise. As its name suggests, the stonefish can change its colouring and shape to perfectly blend in amongst the stones as it waits for something tasty, like an unsuspecting shrimp, to swim passed. It then strikes and consumes its victim in the blink of an eye.
Why are penguins black and white?
Answer: For camouflage. Their white fronts mean their favourite snacks such as fish don’t spot them against the light coming from above. Similarly, when predators such as killer whales swim above them, their dark backs mean the killer whales struggle to spot the penguins against the dark water below them. Unfortunately for penguins, nature gave killer whales the same highly effective camouflage…