The (hidden) wonders of nature: incredible photos show how animals from lizards to spiders and moths camouflage themselves perfectly
- Camouflage is an important mechanism for both predators and prey, allowing them to eat or prevent them from being eaten
- Some have evolved the mechanism, others can quickly change their skin color, while some constructs disguise themselves
- This gallery shows how a series of different species from all over the world fit into their environment
These incredible pictures show how animals around the world use camouflage to eat or to prevent them from being eaten.
Some – such as the southern agama lizard from Namibia or the lichen spider from Australia – can change their skin color and adapt to their environment.
Others – such as the pygmy sea horse from Indonesia or the lappet moth from Switzerland – have evolved to look like their surroundings over the course of thousands of years.
Then there are people like the righteye bone or Peringuey's Adder who use a mix of natural skin color and disguise – burying themselves in sand – to hide from prey until it's too late.
Here Mail Online has put together a gallery with a number of disguising masters of nature. So how much can you see?
A southern Rock Agama Lizard mixes with a rock in Namibia, on the left. These lizards can change color so that they can adapt to their environment or – during mating season – to display bright colors to attract a female. Exactly, a dwarf sea horse disguises itself against the coral in Indonesia. The color varies from the same species depending on the type of coral on which they live. Some will spend their entire lives on a single piece of coral
A lichen spider disguised against tree bark. Although it is not known exactly where this image was made, the species is found in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. They can change color, but only if they shed their skin, after which the new pattern is restored until the next moult. These spiders hunt through an ambush, making camouflage an important weapon
A kind of butterfly sprout mixes with dead leaves in Switzerland. These moths usually have no mouths and cannot eat because they only live as adults for a few days. Instead, their camouflage – which they have evolved – is used to hide them from predators while looking for a partner to breed with
A bat-faced toad mixes with dead leaves in a national park in Colombia. Just like lap months and seahorses, this camouflage has evolved slowly, instead of chameleons that can change color quickly. Because frogs are predators – eating small insects – the ability to hide is both a hunting mechanism and to protect them from being eaten
A long-fingered scorpion fish hides among rocks on the left. These fish are native to the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. Because they mainly hunt at night, the camouflage is largely a defense mechanism to protect against larger predators while resting during the day. Okay, a crocodile disguises itself at Phuket Zoo. Most crocodiles are top predators, meaning they don't have natural predators, so their disguise is to help with ambush hunting. They immerse themselves completely or lie low in the water and wait for an unexpected animal that comes close enough to grab
A righteye bone disguises itself on the seabed, exact location unknown. Flounders are ambush predators who use their natural color to adapt to their environment, but also bury themselves to increase their chances of luring prey to them. Both eyes are on the right side of their body – different from lgeneye bones that they have on the left – and they face it upwards to help them go hunting
The adder of Peringuey disguises himself in the sand of a desert somewhere in Namibia or South Angola. Another ambush predator, it buries itself under sand with only its eyes and tail – which are covered with natural camouflage – visible above the surface. The prey that passes then gets a dose of poison from his teeth and devours after he dies
A scorpionfish hides among the rocks in the Pacific Ocean. Some species are spotted in color, others are bright orange or red, which means they can be combined with corals. Their camouflage, along with poisonous spines along their backs and fins, helps protect them from predators. They hunt & night when camouflage is not needed
A stargazer fish stares up from the seabed near Blairgowrie Pier in Melbourne, Australia. Stargazers are dark brown in color, which makes them seem to fit well together, but they are mostly out to make a disguise for themselves by digging their eyes into the sandy seabed – positioned on the tops of their heads – staring up at passing prey
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