Top four animal actors
Four animals that can change colours, literally, and like a pro.
Eastern bearded dragon lizard
The Eastern bearded dragon lizard (Pogona barbata) is found in wooded areas in eastern Australia. This lizard can change the colour of its different body parts and according to a recent study, colour changes on different parts of its body actually serve different functions. It can change the colour of its back in response to temperature (This adaptation allows them to greatly reduce the time it takes to reach active body temperature during the breeding season) while the colour changes on its neck and beard occur for the purposes of communication (it changes colour in these areas from cream to jet-black during social interactions).
Dead leaf butterfly
The dead leaf butterfly (Kallima inachus)is found in tropical Asia. The upper side of its wings has vivid blue, orange and black patterns. The undersides of its wings, when closed, resemble a dead brown leaf with irregular shades and patterns, darkened veins, jagged edges and even tiny fungus spots! This camouflage helps the butterfly evade bird predators.
Reef stone fish
The reef stone fish (Synanceia verrucosa) resembles an encrusted rock or lump of coral, and is usually brown or grey with patches of red, yellow or orange. It is a carnivorous fish and also one of the most venomous in the world, possessing 13 dorsal spines that can inject venom if disturbed (or if you step on it in a shallow reef). Its stony appearance allows it to blend in with rocks, corals and pebbles at the bottom of coral reefs, where it waits for unsuspecting food like crustaceans to swim by, before striking with ferocious speed. This camouflage feature allows the stonefish to save itself from those higher up in the food chain like sharks.
Indonesian Mimic octopus
The Indonesian mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) can impersonate local species and predators (most octopus species have specialised pigment sacs called chromatophores to change colour and texture to blend into their surroundings). The mimic octopus is typically brown and white-striped in appearance, and is found in shallow sandy water near river mouths that are often teeming with other predators. When threatened, it rapidly changes its appearance by contorting its body to mimic the shape of more dangerous creatures. It mimics sea snakes by hiding in a hole and sticking two legs out in opposite directions with menacing black and white bands. It can also impersonate other species like lionfish, flatfish, and jellyfish.