These amazing sea creatures are unique in many senses. They are flat bodied oddities that swim on their sides and with their eyes both on one side. Interestingly they start their life with both their eyes on the normal parts of their head, until when they mature. Metamorphosis takes place and one of their eyes migrates to the other side of the body. They range in size from 22–60 centimetres, to something as large as 95 centimetres. They spend most of their time on the sea bottom which is where their camouflaged body comes in handy. Their spots and markings perfectly blend well with the stones, sands and every features of the ocean floor. I bet you will have trouble finding one until it moves.
And now that we talk about the ocean’s masters of camouflage, nothing beats the expert among them. There are many others in the seas that could blend well in their environment, but they can’t change their colours, shapes and skin textures like an octopus does. These creatures are basically unrecognizable when in stealth mode. Preys, predators, or even curious divers won’t notice one clinging on rocks or tucked among corals. To pull-off such nearly supernatural feat the octopuses evolve to have a body with soft tissues that could extend, contort and contract effortlessly. This not only allowed them to hide in crevices, but also change their body features. Their skins also have chromatophores, specialized skin cells that allow colour changes.
Its colour changing abilities is a stuff of legends. In some places, an expression ‘being a chameleon,’ means being able to melt into the surroundings. Now we know it could change colours, and it does that through its specialized skin structures. Their skin has superficial layers. One layer contains the figment. Underneath contains cells with guanine crystals. To change colours, Chameleons simply change the space between the crystals, which changes the wavelength of light reflected off the crystals. And instantly they have a skin colour change.
Many people hate toads, and part of the fear stems from the fact that it could appear out of nowhere. Toads have two means of survival; a toxic skin and a camouflaged coloration. The mud coloured shade that adorned their ugly complexion will made them resemble rocks or woods at first glance. Because of this the crevices, in between rocks, under dead woods, dried vegetation or any available corners are their preferred spaces. It works well when evading predators, looking for prey, or startling stupid humans.
This will make you hate snakes even more. Those intricate markings in their shiny scales will make them hard to spot in the mottled forest floor, trees, and any places they could hide. Like another disgusting creature, the toad, their outlines will break once they started to crawl into their environments. The elongated and limbless body that made them an object of fear among people already further add up to their stealth. So when people say that you are a snake on the grass, asked them how they saw you.
6. Great Cats
Tiger’s stripes, leopard’s spots and lion’s tawny coat. You know how cats hunt. They rely on speed, power and stealth and their stylish coat help them in their hunt. Great cats are beauties, functional beauties. Their coats are not as muddy as toads’ and it won’t change colour as chameleons or octopi. And compared to most terrestrial predators their camouflage is more colourful. It gets the job done though as the spots and stripes enable these graceful beasts to prowl into their surroundings unseen. The grasses is the favourite hunting place of striped tigers, lionesses will lie and wait in the golden fields of grasses while leafs and vegetation will help conceal leopards.
Now it won’t be fair if predatory cats will get all the fun. They are already bigger and stronger than most of their prey, and an addition of stealth will make it unfair for their prey. So their prey items like deer won’t play easy catch. They evolved to be faster than most great cats while some developed defenses of their own. It won’t be fun for any predator to be gored by the antler of a deer. And yes, they also employed camouflage to escape the marauding beasts around them. Their body coloration and markings will make it hard for predators to pick on them.
Owls are both predators and preys. As a predator they are quiet night hunters, nocturnal flyers that prowl the night for small animals. Yet they are also vulnerable to other larger and stronger animals. Do you know that eagles could kill owls? Their large, front facing eyes are not that useful to spot danger from all sides, that’s why they evolved with flexible necks. Yup, owls could turn their heads for 270 degrees. But just to be sure they employed camouflaged to conceal themselves, and the result is amazing.
I found it surprising but monkeys need this kind of defences too. To protect themselves these animals often stay in family groups and will resort to their speed and canines when provoked. But when faced with a more powerful predator, they could be a soft and juicy target. Monkeys are reputed to be clever, here’s the proof then!
10. Arctic Foxes
White is the primary camouflage colour in the snow and ice of the arctic. And being the creature of the arctic, this fox species uses the same form of colour concealment. Another thing, its fur changes according to season. They will adopt greyish brown in the summer before going white in the winter.
Special Mention: Humans
Humans never became earth’s top predators for nothing!