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This Dead Leaf Is a Perfectly Camouflaged Butterfly

Kallima inachus, a species of nymphalid butterfly found in India and Japan, is known as the orange oakleaf or dead leaf butterfly for a very good reason – with its wings closed, this butterfly closely resembles a dried tree leaf.

It’s been said that the kallima inachus butterfly mimics a dead leaf better than an actual dead leaf, and as crazy as that sounds, it actually makes some sense. Somehow, this tiny creatures managed to raise its camouflage to such an extreme level that its wings feature a pointed leaf apex at the front tip, and a leaf stalk on the hindside, as well as a characteristic vein pattern, multiple shades of brown and orange, and even tiny imperfections like black spots or small tears. It’s a perfect camouflage artist.

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This Asian Moth Is Probably Nature’s Ultimate Camouflage Master

We’ve seen plants and insects posing as something else entirely in order to confuse their natural predators, but Macrocilix maia, a moth native to Southeastern Asia, takes mimicry to a whole new level by literally painting an entire scene on its wings.

Looking at a Macrocilix maia moth, it’s impossible to ignore the scene painted on its wings – two flies feasting on some brown spots that could be mistaken for fresh bird droppings. It’s a pretty disgusting picture, and apparently we’re not the only ones who think so. Many of this moth’s predators tend to skip on insects feasting on bird droppings, associating them with potential disease, so the natural pattern acts as a defense mechanism for the otherwise helpless insect. And as if this visual representation of flies eating bird droppings wasn’t impressive enough, the moth reportedly also gives off a pungent odour that could be mistaken for actual bird droppings.

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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.

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