Category Archives: mimicry and crypsis

Here’s the reptile! (It’s a gecko)

Earlier today I put up a tw**t from Ollie Wearn that had this picture in it. Your job was to find the reptile. Did you? Here it is: And enlargements from Ollie’s recent tweet: Yes, folks, it’s a leaf-tailed gecko in the genus Uroplatus, and one cryptic mother! Members of this genus are some of […]

Book on bees of the world has a mimetic fly on the cover – update

Matthew Cobb, who does social media, called my attention to a post today by environmentalist and writer Brigid Strawbridge; it’s about a book on the world’s bees. Here it is. Notice anything strange? Hint: count the wings: Bees, in the order Hymenoptera, have four wings, like this: What we see above on the cover of Bees […]

Frog defense: hiding, fighting, or both

JAC: Instead of “Readers’ Wildlife” today, we’ll have a report on frogs by Greg Mayer, who’s just visited Costa Rica. by Greg Mayer Although quite cryptic on the forest floors it calls home, the smoky jungle frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) in the photo below is too obvious to be a candidate for “spot the frog”. This […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs

Reader Lou Jost, who lives and works in Ecuador, found a really cool beetle, and a case of possible mimicry that I didn’t know about. His descriptions are indented: Here’s another weird insect I found. This one is a translucent chrysomelid beetle larva, subfamily Cassidinae, which builds a rough likeness of another insect or spider, […]

Spot the moth

Last year reader Rodger Atkin sent an uncamouflaged photo of the lovely Oleander Hawk-Moth (Daphnis nerii; see it here). This year it’s on vegetation, and somewhat harder to spot. Can you find it? (Enlarge photo for help.)  

Spot the orange pygmy seahorse

by Matthew Cobb This brief video shows the amazing camouflage of this tiny fish (yes, seahorses are fish; what else would they be?), and explores how scientists have been studying their reproduction and growth. JAC: This is one way to determine whether a trait (yellow color) is hardwired genetically, or is simply part of the […]

Readers’ Wildlife Photos: The Moth Edition

Jonathan Wallace from England sent Jerry some amazing photographs of moths. As always if you click through twice on a photograph you can see it in its original size. Jonathan writes: I thought I’d send you a few pictures around the theme of protective colouration in moths to help top up your tank. First, two […]

Another fantastic mantid

I am so glad that biologist Piotr Naskrecki gave me permission to post up his copyrighted photos without asking permission, because he takes some great pictures, and always tells us about the relevant biology. I’ve featured his work several times before (see this post on the cat mantis, for instance), but he just posted a picture on […]

Spot the snow leopards!

by Professor Ceiling Cat I’m adding my authorship here as people automatically assume that every post whose title begins with “Spot the. . . ” is by Matthew Cobb. Over at, of all places, there are a series of twelve photos, six showing cryptic snow leopards in the wild, each followed by a photo […]

Spot the caterpillar

We have a welcome break from hidden nightjars, for Reader Mark Sturtevant (whose photos of a caterpillar molting appeared this week), has a cryptic arthropod: Today I have a small challenge for your readers. Somewhere in this picture is a rather well camouflaged 3 inch long caterpillar that is sitting in plain sight. Can your readers […]