This Mossy Twig Is Actually a Moth Larva in Disguise

A wildlife photographer recently captured one of nature’s most extraordinary camouflage masters on camera – a moth larva that looks like a mossy twig on a moss-covered tree.

Over they years we’ve featured a bunch of natural camouflage artists on Oddity Central, from the butterfly that looks like a dead leaf, or the moth with a disgusting scene painted on its wings, to the terrifying assassin bug, but the larva captured by wildlife photographer David Weiller in the Madagascar rainforest is definitely up there with the most impressive. Looking like a bulbous patch of moss and lichen with a twig-like body attached to a moss-covered tree, this fascinating creature looks like part of the tree, not a living thing.

Photo © David Weiller/YouTube screengrab

“This debris-carrying bug larva has evolved the perfect camouflage defense to deter attacks from birds and other predators,” Weiller wrote in the description of a YouTube video.

Although the wildlife photographer doesn’t offer too many details about the critter, he does mention that it is a Camouflage Moth Larva (Superfamily Tineoidea) from the rainforest of Andasibe, in Madagascar.


It’s unclear how the larva covers its body with this natural debris, or if at least part of it is in fact its body, but one thing is for sure – it’s almost impossible to spot on that tree. In fact, when it’s not moving, the only way to tell it’s a alive is to see it poop. Luckily, David Weiller got that moment on camera as well.