Animal Encounters / Nature / Travel

Camo Critters: Hiding In Plain Sight

Leaf insect

The instinct of self preservation is one of the strongest forces in nature. From the simplest life form to the top of the food chain, living organisms instinctively struggle to survive. Survival strategies run the gamut from active aggression to passive concealment. And as a peaceful type myself, I’ve always been most fascinated by creatures that have adapted to hide in plain sight with camouflage.

There are a number of ways to become invisible, but it’s all about blending in. If you’re a tasty bug surrounded by the lush, green Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, what could be safer than looking like just another leaf? This technique takes the concept of blending in to a whole new level, and if our sharp-eyed guide hadn’t pointed out this bug, I would’ve walked right by it.

Moth on petrified wood

The color coordination between this beautiful piece of North Dakota petrified wood and the moth is uncanny. Add a bit of debris to the mix, and the moth almost disappears.

Frog on palm leaf

This tiny Florida frog obviously knows exactly how to hoodwink predators. Find a fan leaf which is the right shade of green and hunker down. This truly is protective coloration in action.

Evolution is a marvelous thing. For every advantage given the hunter, nature balances the scale with a few sneaky assets for the  hunted. And a bit of camouflage is a prime example.

Happy Trails,
James

15 thoughts on “Camo Critters: Hiding In Plain Sight

  1. What beautiful creatures! I had a frog once that turned lavender to match a flower. I bet that moth has a bright color underneath those brown wings. And that leaf bug – wow!

    • Thanks Pam. Evolutionary adaptations are amazing to me. I can understand gradual changes in color within a species. But the transition from being green, to looking like a leaf … as you say, wow! ~James

    • Thanks LuAnn. These little green frogs are all over the south, and are particularly cute. I think they’re quite tasty for large birds, so they keep a low profile. ~James

    • Thanks Amy. I love these little green frogs. We have one that regularly hangs out on our screen porch. He always seems to find a great hiding place, and it’s almost impossible to nudge him out of his spot. Mostly, we just try to keep him out of the condo, and in the meantime, we hopes he eats lots of bugs. ~James

  2. James, your photos are fabulous! Apparently we have leaf bugs in theYucatan too because our construction project manager sent a picture of one to me. I can’t wait to see one in person!

    • Thanks Leslie. These leaf bugs really are very cool, and I hope that you get to see one. But, if our experience is any indicator, it will take a sharp eye and some luck. Maybe some of your neighbors there could give you some tips on where to look. ~James

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