Many animals use camouflage to hide from predators or ambush prey. This is basic, elementary life science. But there is more to camouflage than the revelations of a grade-school textbook. There are actually two forms of camouflage: crypsis and mimesis. Crypsis is when an organism is very hard to see. Examples of crypsis include a flounder blending in with a sandy seafloor or a toad hiding in leaf litter. Mimesis is when an organism mimics another organism or object. Examples of mimesis include a katydid mimicking a leaf or a crocodile mimicking a log.
Some camouflaged animals are more obvious than others, especially to us humans because we more easily recognize patterns, but there are many animals that you wouldn’t even notice, even if you were looking for them. In the pictures below, you will see many wonderful examples of camouflage (especially crypsis) in action. I photographed all of these animals myself in their natural environments. Some of these animals are prey; some are predators; and some are both. Can you tell which is which? Why do you think they have their current adaptations? Would you have noticed all of them?
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