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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

September 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Nature

Nature is fascinating, and some of Nature’s best work—or evolution rather—is illustrated by a group of animals that have evolved  adapted to mimic leaves. Leaf mimics employ a heightened form of camouflage to evade detection from predators or prey. These animals make use of extraordinary color patterns, in addition to modified exoskeletons, skin, scales, and behavior to take camouflage to another level.

INVERTEBRATES AS LEAVES

The “dying” leaf-mimic katydid below is a fascinating creature, and evolution natural selection has endowed it with the ability to mimic a dying leaf.

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE1 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

Dead leaf butterflies are extraordinary creatures to observe up close.  The specimen below illustrates the intricate details chiseled out by adaptation through natural selection, which is a driving force of evolution.  The remarkable details help the butterfly evade predation by mimicking a dead leaf.

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE2 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE3 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

The images and videos below show various species of leaf- and stick-mimicking praying mantises, including a dead leaf mantis (Deroplatys desiccata) and a violin mantis subadult (Gongylus gongylodes). The detail and similarity to vegetation in some species, like the specimen in the first image, is extraordinary.

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE4 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE5 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE6 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

Another leaf mimic katydid positions itself below.  This specimen mimics a decomposing leaf instead of a dying leaf.

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE7 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

Leaf insects or walkingleaves from the family  Phylliidae are some of the best examples of leaf mimics.

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE8 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE9 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

Phyllium giganteum

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE10 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

An unidentified species of dead leaf insect

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE11 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

Here are more examples of leaf-mimicking katydids.  The species directly below from Costa Rica is mimicking a dead or brown leaf.  Note the mottling or splotching of darker browns, which certainly allows this species to camouflage itself amongst decaying leaves very well.

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE12 Can You See Me? | Animal Camouflage: Leaf Mimics

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