Camouflage and mimicry

This is by no means intended to be a full report on the issue, I just want to share examples that I have found.

  • Camouflage is a method of hiding. It allows an otherwise visible organism to remain unnoticed, by blending with its environment. A lot of animals make use of shape and colour in some way or another in order to be as invisible as possible to its victim or predator. Animals big and small use colour to become invisible. 

Butterfly on hibiscus

A predator of this little butterfly might easily mistake it as part of the yellow flower it is visiting. In this way the flower benefits where it gets pollinated, and the butterfly live another day – not yet part of the food chain.

If it weren’t for the neck…

Can you believe that an animal as big as this can disappear so well?

Another cool example where the body blend with the bush

This fruit chaffer easily blends in with the flower.

Pedinorrhina trivittata ???

The stripes of a zebra is said to cause confusion, but it is also part of the disappearing trick… Imagine the grey tones at dusk, a zebra skin and tall grasses…

Tall vertical grass blends with vertical light and shaddow stripes on a zebra

The green stripe on the frog could very easily have been a blade of grass. Just see how the brown tones of the body blends in with the surroundings, another example of camouflage.

Green stripe looks like grass, the brown body like soil

  • Mimicry is the ability to appear to be or to imitate something other than what you really are. Sometimes the animal imitates the shape, colour or behaviour of another animal and sometimes the natural surroundings of the animal areimitated.


Agelia petelii © Ted C. Macrae

The meloid-mimicking Jewel Beetle (Agelia petelii) mimics blister beetles. Adult blister beetles secrete the cantharidin poison from their leg joints. These can cause blisters on human skin and can prove fatal when consumed. They frequent the nectar of daisies. Ted C. Macrae granted me permission to display the fine example of Agelia petelli from his blog.  Please note that he has the copyright on this picture.

Mylabris oculata

I found Mylabris oculata and Decapotoma lunata, blister beetles that resembles Agelia petelli.

Decapotoma lunata

The large spots on some moths give the idea of two large eyes. With this, any potential enemy (like birds) is intimidated by thinking that is has to be a rather large animal with two such large eyes.

The large ‘eyes’ might be that of a BIG animal…

Scared yet?


Oh my! Quite a different picture when you view it from this side! I see the eyes and beak of an owl, do you?

The actual eyes are very small on the front of hte head

This method is also used by some caterpillars.

Stick-insect on bark

Stick insects are known to disappear in their surroundings, this one was photographed on a branch, should it have sat on a small twig, I wouldn’t have noticed it!

Can you spot the animal?

Where am I?

An inch-worm, well-camouflaged by mimicking a twiglet!

An inch-worm on a twig!

And then there are leaf katydids…

Eurycorypha sp

Imagine this Acacia katydid in an Acacia tree. I only see them when they are attracted to the lights in the evening, they are too well camouflaged to see in their natural surroundings.

Terpnistria zebrata (Acacia Katydid)

For survival, whether it is escaping or for prowling – you need to blend in!


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