Ever since my interest in nature developed, I have always had a feeling that there are creatures constantly watching me. Also, the feeling that I have missed more than I have seen has bothered me frequently. I have often wondered why I don’t spot certain critters.
The answer seems to be in the ability of organisms to blend in with their surroundings – in other words, camouflage. Camouflage can happen in a variety of ways. Organisms could be using many methods to conceal themselves. They use a variety of patterns to blend in or simply resemble the plethora of objects in their environment, to escape being noticed. Both prey and predators may be seen using camouflage. You could be surprised by creatures that resemble dry or green leaves or resemble the pattern of a bark to melt into the background. Over the years, I have come across creatures, predominantly small ones – both prey and predators – which have evolved some amazing camouflage.
In this photo-feature, I bring you a dozen images from my collection representing insects, spiders, and reptiles, all of which are very well-camouflaged in their respective habitats. This is an attempt to showcase some of my observations and amazement for these beautifully camouflaged little fellows.
However, that nagging feeling persists and will continue to bother me. After seeing these images, don’t blame me if you start feeling likewise!
Praying Mantis (Gongylus sp.), Kabini: Though I had seen individuals of this species in Bangalore many years ago, seeing and photographing this was very exciting. It is interesting to see how these creatures always seem to find the right substrate to blend into.
Praying Mantis, Bangalore: This mantis lives almost entirely on trees and has colour forms that blend with trees on which it is.
Plant-hopper, Bangalore: The pattern on the hopper is deceptively similar to the bark of a tree, during the drier months.
Bug, Bangalore: This nymph is another example of stunning camouflage.
Nymph of a bug, Bangalore: This nymph was sitting in a fissure on the bark of a tree, and was completely motionless.
Two-tailed Spider (Hersilia sp.), Kabini: This spider can be seen most often on trees.
Bark Gecko (Hemidactylus leschenaulti), Bheemeshwari: It lives on trees and is difficult to spot even with a trained eye.
A lizard from Dubare: The presence of this lizard becomes obvious only when it moves.
Grasshopper (Phyllochoreia sp.): This tiny grasshopper camouflages itself very well amidst vegetation. This is an endemic to the Western Ghats.
Bug on a tree trunk, Dubare: Only a close observation will reveal the presence of this bug, as the colouration of the bug blends in beautifully with the bark.
Moth, Bangalore: This leaf-like moth from my garden chose to sit amidst dry leaves, where it blended in very well.