Disguise: (noun) the act of concealing the identity of something by modifying its appearance.
When we think of “masters of disguise” our mind brings up images of spies and stories of espionage. However, the true masters of disguise are not spies at all but various members of the animal kingdom.
The evolution process has given them the ability to change their appearance in order to hide from prey or be more effective hunters themselves. These guys are at the top of their class when it comes to hiding their true nature.
The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
The reptile seen above is a species of gecko indigenous to the island of Madagascar. This arboreal species relies on its natural camouflage. Looking like a decaying leaf, it avoids daytime predators and also gives it the ability to hide from its own unsuspecting insect prey.
The Pygmy Seahorse
As one of the smallest seahorse species in the world, the pygmy seahorse relies on its camouflaging ability to hide from predators. Found in the Coral Triangle area of Southeast Asia, these tiny seahorses lives among the coral fans and match their color and texture almost perfectly.
Indonesian Mimic Octopus
The octopus’ natural color is light brown/beige, but usually takes on a more noticeable hue of striped white and brown to scare off predators by imitating poisonous species and vicious, territorial sea creatures. Its ability to change shape is the reason it was named the “mimic” octopus, which is its main defense besides camouflage.
Bat Faced Toad
Amacayacu National Park in Colombia is home to this special amphibian. Blending in to their environment perfectly, their skin resembles the color and texture of the decaying plant matter that litters the forest floor right down to the spots that mimic holes in the leaves.
Goldenrod Crab Spider
The largest and best-known flower spider in North American is commonly found hunting among the goldenrod sprays in the fall. However, these spiders may be yellow or white, depending on the flower in which they are hunting.
Great Gray Owl
Distributed widely across the northern hemisphere, the great gray owl is one of the largest species. Their plumage is mottled and blends in seamlessly with the bark of the trees they perch upon. This helps them to remain unseen by their prey below them.
The Arctic Fox
The Arctic fox’s camouflage is such that it’s extremely white winter coat blends in perfectly with the snow. For the summer season however, the fur turns brown so it merges with the color earth and the rocks.
Whether hiding themselves from predators or their prey, some members of the animal kingdom are truly masters of disguise.