Camouflaged and Disguised

Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars

Some butterflies, moths and caterpillars are camouflaged or disguised. They hide in their natural resting place.

Staying Safe

Camouflaged/Disguised – concealment by means of disguise – behavior or an expedient designed to deceive or hide. Its colors, patterns or markings blend in with its surroundings making it difficult to notice and hard for predators to find or see them. Markings that look like big eyes can confuse and frighten off their enemies.

When some butterflies, moths or caterpillars are in danger they say things to their enemies. This is done by surprising their attacker. A moth may be resting on a tree that is the same color as the moth, but its brightly coloured hind wings are hidden. If the attacker disturbs the moth it flies and flashes its brightly colored hind wings to startle the attacker. The moth can then land and settle on the tree again and the attacker thinks that the moth has gone.

A lot of butterflies appear too bright n color so that they do not blend in with their surroundings. If a butterfly holds it's wings together over it's back the bright colors are then hidden. The underside of their wings are usually a brown or green color to blend in with the leaves and branches, therefore making it difficult to be seen by it's predators.

Here are a few camouflaged and disguised butterflies, moths and caterpillars to look for:

Angle Shades Moth – This moth looks like crumpled leaves.

Bird-dropping Caterpillar – This caterpillar looks just like what it's name suggests - a pile of bird's droppings. So it survives longer because not many animals want to eat it.

Buff Tip Moth – This moth looks like a twig.

Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar – This caterpillar has very large eye markings on its body and makes it look like a snake's head at the front of its body.

Eyed Hawk Moth – This moth has the markings of two big eyes on its hind wings. If it is disturbed it will move its front wings to flash the two big eyes that are underneath. The enemy is frightened as it thinks they are the eyes of a bit animal.

Herald Moth – This moth looks like dead leaves.

Indian Leaf Butterfly – This butterfly is perfectly camouflaged. It looks like a leaf on a twig and you could walk past it and never see it.

Peacock Butterfly – This butterfly has spots that look like eyes to scare off the birds.

Pine Hawk Moth – This moth looks like the bark of the tree it rests on.