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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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