This Dead Leaf Is Actually a Live Moth Mimicking a Dead Leaf

When it comes to the art of camouflage, few creatures can match Uropyia meticulodina, a small moth capable of mimicking a dead, curled up leaf almost to perfection.

From a mantis that mimics a harmless orchid to attract prey, to a caterpillar that looks like a snake to fend off predators and birds camouflaged as toxic caterpillars, we’ve featured some truly impressive natural mimics in the past, but the Uropyia meticulodina moth may just be the best one yet. Its resemblance to a dead leaf curled round in on itself complete with tiny leaf-like veins is just uncanny. If not for video evidence that this moth is real, I could have sworn it was just the work of a skilled image editing artist.

Photo: enyagene/Flickr

Uropyia meticulodina is not the only moth that looks like a realistic dead tree leaf, in fact there are quite a few of them, but it’s one of just two species that can nail the look of a curled up leaf, the other being the amazing green rainforest moth.

The craziest thing about this fascinating creatures mimicry is that it’s mostly an optical illusion. It’s wings may look curled up, but they are actually as straight as those of any moth. The curled up effect is created by minute scales on its wings which even replicate the shading of a curled up dead leaf. It’s kind of crazy, to be honest.


This living optical illusion spends most of its time on the damp floor of forests in China and Taiwan.



via Boing Boing