Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Mimics!


You can play the “Where’s Waldo” game and browse an interactive album of animal mimics, too.


  1. #1 Fred The Hun
    December 28, 2009

    Too easy! I used to specialize in spotting tree frogs at 200 paces in the Brazilian rain forest.
    Didn’t even have to try in this case.

  2. #2 The Science Pundit
    December 28, 2009

    Woo-hoo! I aced the quiz. (although it really wasn’t that hard)

  3. #3 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 28, 2009

    You know who has really good camouflage? God. Did you see him in any of those pictures? I rest my case.

  4. #4 Michelle R
    December 28, 2009

    I just woke up, looked at this and it went something like that:
    “Hmmm something’s hidden! I see it! It’s a frog! …wait a minute…there’s another one I think. And another one. Damn! They’re good. They could be hiding in my closet.”

  5. #5 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 28, 2009

    They could be hiding in my closet.

    Take a very close look before you use your toothbrush again. I’m just sayin’.

  6. #6 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 28, 2009

    Clever leaves! So hard to find among the frogs.

  7. #7
    December 28, 2009

    I actually only saw one frog at very first glance, but I spotted ’em when I clicked through. The katydid took me a minute too.

    Of course, the pest I worry most about out here is jet black with a red hourglass, so spotting camouflage isn’t always my first concern.

  8. #8 Peter G.
    December 28, 2009

    Ooh! I found Waldo. He was buried in a shallow grave and covered with leaf litter. Millions of children will be relieved.

  9. #9 Frank b
    December 28, 2009

    I went to the Smithsonian in ’92 and saw an insect exhibit. I walked up to a glass case to look for a South American walking stick. I searched intently for about a minute and finally spotted one, and than shortly found another, then another, then another. I almost fell backwards, the case was full of them. Practice and experience are handy in spotting these things.

  10. #10 Sven DiMilo
    December 28, 2009

    Camouflage and object-mimicry are among the best and most intuitively straightforward examples of adaptation-via-natural-slxn there are. Excellent intr-bio teaching material for that reason.

  11. #11 Mobius
    December 28, 2009

    Why is it we see frogs that look like leaves, but not leaves that look like frogs?

  12. #12 vanharris
    December 28, 2009

    Mobius, it’s because there’s more cost/benefit advantage to frogs that mimic leaves than to plants with leaves that mimic frogs.

  13. #13 PZ Myers
    December 28, 2009

    Know any trees that need to blend in with a field of frogs?

  14. #14 vanharris
    December 28, 2009

    Mobius, okay, that wasn’t what you meant, eh.

  15. #15 MrFire
    December 28, 2009

    Sadly, those froggies are now dead. And if they had been consipicuous, I wouldn’t have stepped on them.

    Natural selection also has a sense of irony, y’know.

  16. #16 cousinavi
    December 28, 2009

    Hate to threadjack, but I’ve waited long enough for Peez to notice…

    Deepak Chopsticks is up to his traditional crap on HuffPo again.
    You can read his craptastic septic spew here:

    My vicious and unhinged response to Deepak’s vacuous WOO is here:

  17. #17 Crewvy
    December 28, 2009

    Racing frogs?

    Cool stripes.

  18. #18 SEF
    December 28, 2009

    Lovely froggies!

  19. #19 Judy L.
    December 28, 2009

    Full of coolness! I’ve never seen frogs look so much like origami. Thanks, PZ!

  20. #20 Cogito
    December 28, 2009

    A few years back i was in Malaysia and wound up in a store that sold all kinds of amphibians, reptiles and arthropods (completely illegal of course). I looked into a glass tank and saw a couple of these tree frogs resting on a bed of leaves. I was amazed at their camouflage. Then, after I had been staring at them for a couple of minutes, I realized that there weren’t actually any leaves at all in there – they were ALL tree frogs, probably around fifty of them. Amazing and sad.

  21. #21 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 28, 2009

    Know any trees that need to blend in with a field of frogs?

    From the mouth of an evilutionist! The leafy frog = the atheists worst nightmare. Call Ray and Kirk!

  22. #22 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 28, 2009

    Duh. I meant the froggy leaf. I’m such an imbecile. Still, you ahev to admit as far as atheist’s worst nightmares go…

  23. #23 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 28, 2009

    I also meant “have”. The imbecile remark stands.

  24. #24 meadra
    December 29, 2009

    Thanks for posting this! My seven year old loved these pictures and is now clamoring for more. I already have him interested in spiders, so getting him interested in other “bugs” is a great thing, too. I’d be happy if he just saw bugs as “cool,” like most boys with slimy and gross things, but he actually sees them as fascinating worthy studying.

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