The Fish That Mimics a Dead Tree Leaf to Catch Unsuspecting Prey

The South American Leaf Fish is a remarkable predator that relies on almost perfect camouflage and patience to both ambush unsuspecting prey, and escape larger predators.

Native to the Amazon basin in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, the aptly-named leaf fish does a great job of imitating a dead leaf floating near the bottom of the river. Not only has it evolved to resemble a dead leaf almost perfectly, down to tiny details like the filament at the tip of the lower jaw that resembles a leaf stalk, but it also behaves like a leaf. The leaf fish bends and sways, but rarely moves upright, just as a floating leaf would not, and often angle themselves facing downwards, so that it looks like a dead leaf floating in the water.

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The Malayan Leaf Frog Lives Up to Its Name

The Malayan leaf frog, a.k.a long-nosed horned frog, is one of the most remarkable creatures on Earth, at least in terms of natural camouflage.

We’ve featured some truly impressive masters of camouflage in the past, from the dead leaf butterfly to a plant that evolved to mimic the rocky terrain it grows on, but the Malayan leaf frog is definitely up there with the best of them. As an ambush hunter that waits for unsuspecting prey to cross its path, this amphibian needs to remain unnoticed for as long as possible, and what better way to do that than blend into the leaf-covered forest floor it calls home? Its unique physical features make it almost impossible to visually detect in its natural habitat, and looking at the photos below, it’s easy to see why.

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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.

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Tiny Assassin Bug Wears the Bodies of Its Victims as Camouflage

The assassin bug is a fascinating insect for many reasons, but the one that really stands out is its gruesome camouflage, which consists of the carcasses of its victims glued to its back.

There are around 7,000 known species of assassin bugs in the world, ranging from 4 to 40 mm in length and sharing the same formidable weapon – a sharp, curved, needle-like structure called a “rostrum”. It’s this rostrum that they use to stab their prey – usually other insects – and inject them with a poisonous saliva that liquifies their innards. When the victim stops moving, the assassin bug will start slurping away at its inside, until only the shell remains. That shell is used by some assassin bug species as camouflage, and some specimens have been observed walking around with a mound of insect carcasses glued to their backs.

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