“Scheming” pretender

  Animal camouflage is a means used to hide themselves or deceive other animals. Whether it is a predator or a prey, the ability of camouflage will affect the survival probability of these animals. Magical illusions, cunning tricks and gorgeous disguise make the following animals become the best “liars” in the animal world.
  Zebras
  ”Why do zebras have stripes?” This may be one of the oldest questions in evolutionary biology. Scientists have been arguing since Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. Current research shows that zebra stripes have a certain “action camouflage” function, which can protect them from natural enemies.
  However, the black and white stripes of the zebra look so obvious, can it really act as a camouflage? This brings us to the most eye-catching and incredible part of magic, which is the “optical illusion”. Black and white have a strong contrast, and when the two are combined, they will have a peculiar effect that confuses the vision of many animals.
  Scientists are studying whether zebra stripes can confuse predators through the “wheel illusion”. When the brain receives a fast-moving object, such as a visual signal of a wheel, it will try to process the movement pattern of the object, and simplify and explain it. However, in this process, the brain is sometimes completely deceived, and we will see the wheels move in the wrong direction. This is also the reason why when we see the wheels of a high-speed car or the propeller of an airplane rotate, we occasionally see the wheel hub slowly turning in the opposite direction to the direction of movement.
  Studies have shown that when zebras begin to move in groups, their stripes create an illusion called “motion vertigo.” For example, when a predator is facing a large black-and-white stripe passing quickly, it will think that the zebra herd is moving to the left, but in fact they are running to the right.
  In the hunting process where every second counts, this kind of “motion vertigo” will produce enough time for the zebra to escape, which is also one of the most dazzling optical illusions on earth.
  African lion
  If a lion looks like a male lion and is also a male lion in the perception of others of its kind, then you may think it is a male lion, but this is sometimes not the case. In the Okavango Delta of Botswana, there is a group of distinctive female African lions. They have manes and roar like male lions, enough to confuse their rivals.
  Among this group of female lions is a lion named Mmamoriri, which looks very much like a male lion in its behavior, appearance and roar, but it is indeed of the opposite sex. Scientists believe that Mmamoriri, like the other four lionesses with manes, is due to a genetic mutation that causes hormonal imbalance, which makes it more like a male lion.
  In the lion group, the male lion is responsible for protecting the territory and resisting other male competitors. Scientists speculate that because Mmamoriri can imitate male lions, other male lions will think twice after seeing Mmamoriri if they want to take over. If Mmamoriri’s lions expand their territory as the proportion of “males” increase, their probability of survival will also increase. This novel and deceptive strategy may become more popular.
  Cuttlefish
  cuttlefish have some crafty defense strategy, from a visual point of view is very shocking. They don’t have a solid shell or armor-like bone plate, but they have an “invisible cloak” that looks like a fake replacement. In the uppermost layer of the cuttlefish body surface, there are many cells containing pigments called chromosomes, which can be completely integrated into the surrounding environment by changing the color of the chromosomes. When cuttlefish move in a weakly different environment, their brains control muscle activity, stretch each related pigment body, thereby changing the body color or pattern, such as a point that can become a circle in a flash.
  Millions of pigment bodies work at the same time, which can make the cuttlefish produce body colors and patterns that are highly consistent with the surrounding environment. In addition, cuttlefish can also change the shape and texture of the body, which makes them look like they have disappeared.
  The most incredible thing is that the cuttlefish with super ability to change color is actually color blind. So, how can the cuttlefish change the color so accurately that you can’t see the color you want to simulate? Recent studies have shown that cuttlefish epidermal cells contain opsin, which is usually found in the retina of animal eyes. Because of the molecules that can detect light, the cuttlefish’s epidermis itself can “see” the color, making it the most beautiful and “smart” skin on earth.
  California ground squirrels
  this cute rodents face enormous challenges to survive. California ground squirrels are mainly distributed in areas with more rocks on the surface. They are also often found in grass and open woodlands. They can be seen in California, western Nevada, and western Oregon. Because of the open habitat, they are vulnerable to predators.
  Rattlesnakes are one of the most important natural enemies of California ground squirrels. They rely on their sense of smell to hunt. Once the scent track is locked, their prey has little chance of escape. However, California ground squirrels have developed a unique method to deceive their natural enemies. They rub the skin of the rattlesnake shed to cover their own smell. Scientists believe that this learned behavior may be the result of teaching between individual California ground squirrels. For any California ground squirrel with “insight”, snake skin is definitely the most effective “perfume” against rattlesnakes.
  Orchid mantis
  Malaysian rainforest is not only home to a large number of winged insects, there are many invertebrate prey to these predators eyeing the air. In order to avoid predators, many insects have evolved to be extremely light, fast, and very difficult to catch. Although they can often escape predators, these insects can’t resist the temptation of bright flowers. They fly long distances in search of pollen and honeydew.
  The orchid mantis transforms his entire body into a disguise that is both beautiful and deceptive. They perfectly mimic the shape of orchids, and at the same time combine sharp vision and ninja-like attack speed, thus becoming the most deadly ambush hunter in the world. However, this simulation of flowers is far more complicated than it seems. A growing praying mantis needs to eat every few days, so it needs insects to fall directly into the hunting range from time to time, and the flowers of plants can wait longer.
  When naturalists discovered this peculiar species in the Victorian era, they guessed that there were some special factors at work, because these mantises appeared to be much more popular than their simulated flowers. Now scientists have discovered that the charm of orchid mantis comes from their proficiency in “aggressive mimicry.” Insects are attracted to petals with brighter colors, and orchid mantis not only perfectly mimics the shape of petals, but also has brighter colors than plant petals. Once the insect is confused by the disguise of the orchid mantis and gets close to the deadly beautiful “petals”, there is no chance of escape.