Animal masters of disguise

Mappet moth blending into the autumn foliage in Switzerland; photo by Thomas Marent/Ardea/Caters News

Among the many wonders of nature are critters that possess a remarkable ability to blend in with their surroundings, which is beneficial both for predators and prey.

With this in mind we've selected 10 photographs that show some of nature's true masters of camouflage, and challenge readers to try to spot them. Some are fairly easy, while others are difficult (a few hints for the more difficult photos are posted as an editor’s note at the bottom).

We'll start with the camouflage mappet moth (pictured above), which resembles autumn foliage. Pity the bug that lands on the leaf nearest the moth. The rest …

Leaf-tailed gecko

Leaf-tailed gecko in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar; photo by Thomas Marent/Ardea/Caters News

Walking leaf insect

Walking leaf insect in the cloudforest at Cameron Highlands, West Malaysia; photo by Thomas Marent/Ardea/Caters News

 Ocean Scorpionfish

Critters that blend in: Pacific Ocean Scorpionfish; photo by Ron and Valerie Taylor/Ardea/Caters News

Cheetah cub

Cheetah cub half-hidden in the grasslands of Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya; photo by Ferrrero-Labat/Ardea/Caters News

great gray owl

Great gray owl perched on a branch somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere; photo by M. Watson/Ardea/Caters News

gaboon viper

Gaboon viper on the forest floor of Central Africa; photo by Mark Carwardine/Ardea/Caters News

Black arches moth

Black arches moth on tree bark in Cornwall, U.K.; photo by David Chapman/Ardea/Caters News


Angelshark buried in sand at Tenerife, Canary Islands; photo by Gavin Parsons/Ardea/Caters News


Arctic hare

Arctic hare on the snowy landscape in Northern Canada; photo by Pat Morris/Ardea/Caters News

Editor’s note: The mappet moth is sitting on a leaf, front and center; the scorpionfish has its mouth partially open as it rests on the rocky bottom; the great gray owl is peering toward the camera; the angel shark is the smooth blob in the middle; and the black arches moth's classic shape is visible toward the lower left on the bark.)

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