Spot the critter!

December 4, 2022 • 7:20 am

This photo comes from reader Pradeep on Facebook, though I don’t know if he took it.  At any rate, there’s an animal hiding on the tree. Can you spot it? I’d rate this “pretty easy if you look carefully”.

It shows the power of camouflage, in this case surely produced by natural selection eliminating less camouflaged individuals—the ones who got eaten by bird predators.

If you do, just say “I did” or “I didn’t” in the comments rather than give it away. I’ll put up the solution at noon Chicago time.

28 thoughts on “Spot the critter!

  1. “I did” or “I didn’t” in the comments rather than give it away.

    ^^^just kidding!

    I did – beautiful!

  2. I did but I found it remarkably hard. It didn’t help that I guessed that it would be a certain kind of animal and it turned out to be something completely different! Anyway, the camouflage is amazing.

  3. I did, but had to embiggen it. Showed the normal-sized photo to my 14-year old grandson and he found it in 5 seconds. Good eyes!

  4. I did after enlarging.

    I wonder if there is some sort of parallel selection going on in their predators as well to make them better at sussing out the camouflage ?

    1. A hasty thought:

      I wonder if noxious taste, aposematic coloration, camouflage are necessarily exclusive properties…

      I.e. I’m wondering if a predator would have a tasty treat if they caught the above “critter”…

      1. In my limited experience in scuba diving it was the brightly coloured (typically red) and highly visible creatures that seemed to be advertising that they were not very good to eat.

        Another example that comes to mind is the Monarch butterfly, quite visible and “are toxic and foul-tasting because of the presence of cardenolides in their bodies, which the caterpillars ingest as they feed on milkweed”.

  5. Pretty easy, compared to some other insects (such as katydids) we got dished up. I don’t understand the necessity for zooming in, though.

  6. I got lucky. I enlarged the photo and for whatever reason, the enlarged portion had the cryptic critter right in the center.

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