It's not just chameleons. The animal kingdom is full of optical tricksters.
Most masters of camouflage use green and brown earth tones to blend in, but pandas sport black and white coats.
Mama anteaters use their fur patterns to keep their babies safe.
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket/Getty Images
The mother has a dark stripe on her back that lines up with the baby’s fur — making it difficult for predators to spot the youngster.
This deep-sea creature plays a vision trick on its prey.
Dragonfish have sharp, transparent teeth — making it tough for other deep-sea creatures to tell when they’re going in for a bite.
Combined with dark skin, the predator is nearly invisible when it hunts.
David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering
A 2019 study in the journal Matter found that the dragonfish’s teeth have an unusual crystalline structure, which could one day help humans make transparent materials like ceramics.
Crane flies have slimy larvae that are nearly indistinguishable from their surroundings.
Some crane fly larvae thrive in mossy environments, while others prefer streams or lakes.
The insects are covered in fleshy lobes, making them appear like caterpillars to trick predators.
A report from 2020 found that the shape and size of the lobes correlate with the insects’ environment.
Crane flies have adapted to trick in not one, but several habitats.
Researchers in 2018 observed the cuttlefishes’ changing skin as it reacted to different stimuli.
They reported that the color of their skin cells morphs by neurons firing directly from their brains.
Karen Osborn, Smithsonian
A 2020 report in Current Biology found that pigment cells in several species of fangtooths and dragonfish reflect back as little as 0.5% of the light that hits their skin.