Perfectly-Camouflaged Moth Looks Like a Twig Fragment

Tsumaki Shachihoko is a rare Japanese moth that features impressive natural camouflage which allows it to perfectly mimic small twigs in order to avoid predators.

We’ve always found natural camouflage fascinating here at Oddity Central, and simply searching the term in our search box will yield over a dozen amazing examples of natural mimics. Today we are adding yet another master of camouflage to our ever-growing collection – Tsumaki Shachihoko, a moth found in various forested areas of Japan, where it manages to keep itself safe by mimicking a small twig fragment. Seen from afar, the moth is virtually impossible to tell apart from an actual twig, complete with imperfections such as chipped bark and brownish “broken” ends.

Photo credit: Photo AC

Tsumaki Shachihoko is a rare species of Lobster Moth that inhabits the flatlands and mountains of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Tsushima, up to an altitude of about 1000 meters. It measures between 20 mm to 25 mm in length, and has a life-span of two weeks to a month. Its most intriguing feature is undoubtedly its natural camouflage.

Seen from afar, a Tsumaki Shachihoko moth looks just like a piece of twig. From the way its wings overlap in order to create a cylindrical shape, to the jagged brown endings, and even the chipped bark imperfection on the ends of its wings, this little moth is master of mimicry.

Even from up close, it’s hard to tell the moth apart from an actual twig fragment, with the only thing really giving the insect away being its legs.

As you can imagine, this phenomenal camouflage comes in hand when you are trying to avoid birds and other predators, and while it’s impossible to say for sure if predator evasion is the main reason why this species of moth evolved the way it has, it’s certainly the most plausible scientific explanation.


For more natural mimics, check out this caterpillar that looks like a skull to frighten predators, and the Common Baron Caterpillar able to perfectly blend into the background.