The 9 Most Mind-blowing Disguises in the Animal Kingdom

#4. Moths Pretending to be Spiders

Metalmark moths of the Brenthia genus find that the best way to avoid getting killed by spiders is to wear the enemy uniform.

Indiana Jones found the same technique useful with the Nazis.

Most spiders don't seem like that much of a threat to something that can simply fly away, but nature threw them a curve ball when it invented jumping spiders.

To deal with the threat of agile spiders, this moth can make itself look like one of the spiders that hunt them. How does a moth with wings mimic an arachnid with eight legs? As you can see above, it's not perfect, but spiders are idiots.

When a metalmark is confronted by its arch nemesis the jumping spider, it arranges its wings to mimic the spider's pose, looking like a bigger, meaner, spider gangster. Depending on the racism of the attacking spider, it will either back right off to avoid conflict, or just cross to the other side of the street.

#3. Bugs Pretending to be Plants

Believe it or not, there is an insect in the above picture. One sure-fire way to hide yourself in the forest is to just become part of the morass of inanimate plant matter that's spread all over the place, and leaf insects are so adept that they even mimic leaves that have been partially eaten by caterpillars for added realism. Some zoos won't even bother displaying them because people think that the exhibit is empty.

Then we have its cousin, the stick insect, which sways back and forth to mimic the sway of branches in the breeze.

And the dead-leaf butterfly:

All of which leads us to the conclusion that you shouldn't touch anything in nature if you don't want it to skitter up your shirt sleeve. Also, you don't need much of an imagination to apply for the job of "person who names insects."

#2. Plants Looking Like Bugs

Flowers need bees to spread their pollen, so one of their most important tasks (and they don't have many) is to find ways to appeal to the bee demographic. Most achieve this by shilling tasty nectar, but the Bee Orchid of the west Mediterranean has found a method that doesn't affect its bottom line. As they say in the industry, sex sells.

The color, shape and texture make this flower look like a female bee, and it also releases pheromones to attract the male bees. Soon, the males begin to awkwardly stumble over pick-up lines and flip through their PUA handbooks. During the furious dry-humping that ensues, the bees wind up covered in pollen, which they will then transfer to the next bee flower they try to inseminate.

Other orchids display the shape and coloration of different insects too, like these wasps, which seem to be trying to initiate some kind of gang bang.

#1. The Mimic Octopus Imitates Whatever it Damn Well Wants

So the mimic octopus can spread out two tentacles to look like a snake (specifically, a toxic sea snake). That's pretty cool, right?

But now here it is imitating a foul-tasting flatfish:

And here it is doing its impression of a shrimp with the touch of death:

Other animals are lucky to evolve just one good disguise, maybe two on a good eon. Thaumoctopus mimicus on the other hand is the first animal ever discovered to take on the shape and behavior of many different animals for different situations. The above is just a small sample. It's also been known to play a seahorse, stingray, anemone, starfish, lionfish, crab and probably Cthulhu.

Inhabiting only the naturally murky waters off the coast of Indonesia, this tentacled ninja is so good at not being an octopus that it eluded human discovery until 1998. Even now, it could be anywhere. In fact, before you click away from this article, you might want to take a hard look at that mouse your hand is resting on.

For more animals you won't see before its too late, check out 7 Terrifying Creatures You'll Never See Coming and The 6 Deadliest Creatures (That Can Fit In Your Shoe).

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