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Countdowns Animal Camo: Can You Find the Animals Hiding Out in These Images?
Invisible trio If we stay completely still, nobody will spot us … Seriously, these cheetahs (did you see all three?) look as if they are just outlined patterns plopped into the Namibian desert of Damaraland. Mission accomplished for the sneaky felines: Their tawny-colored bodies are nearly completely covered in black spots, which may offset shadows created by the tall grasses they often inhabit, according to Smithsonian's National Zoo. Turns out, the cubs have their own form of camo. "Camouflage is essential not only for stalking prey, but also for protecting cheetah cubs from predators. A cheetah cub's smoky gray mantle may serve as added camouflage among dead grasses," the zoo said. (Image credit: RooM RF/Getty) Dainty cleaners This teensy, translucent jewel, called an anemone shrimp, is hiding out on an anemone (which, though sedentary, is an animal that is a member of the cnidarians — the same as jellyfish). Immune to the anemone's stinging cells, the little shrimp hides out from predators in exchange for its cleaning services: The shrimp picks off parasites and other gunk from the anemone's surfaces. (Image credit: Giordano Cipriani/The Image Bank/Getty) Where's the intruder? See it? Keep looking. Among the eroded cliffs at Badlands National Park in South Dakota is an intruder. This perfectly camouflaged bighorn sheep is barely noticeable among its surroundings. (Image credit: Federica Grassi/Getty) My, what nice eyes! Even bright guys like this little blue-sided tree frog ( Agalychnis annae) have their tricks for hiding out. (Image credit: Joel Sartore/National Geographic Creative/Getty) Don't move A bobcat is nearly perfectly camouflaged as it sits in a fallen tree. (Image credit: Barrett Hedges/National Geographic Creative/Getty) Just a twig Can you find the brimstone moth in this image? (Image credit: Shutterstock) Carrying Camouflage If you aren't born with a stealthy coat, you may have to borrow one. In this caterpillar's case, a few stacked “logs” might do the trick. (Image credit: Shutterstock) Cleaning stations This parrotfish has a helpful visitor. It's so small and translucent, the cleaner shrimp is difficult to make out at first glance. But the crustacean performs an important role for fish by munching on parasites and dead skin from the fish's body. Normally, a parrotfish wouldn't hesitate to chomp down on a shrimp, but because of the cleaning service, the fish seems to resist. Researchers have found that when cleaner shrimp approach a "cleaning station" they wave their long, white antennae at the fish to indicate, "Hey, I'm here to clean." In the study, the fish darkened their color to indicate they were keen for a cleaning (and not a meal), the researchers reported in 2018 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (Image credit: Shutterstock) Hiding on fences The fencepost jumping spider ( Marpissa muscosa) likes to hide out under the loose bark of trees and, yes, on fence posts. (Image credit: Shutterstock) Leave me alone One of these leaves is NOT a leaf. Can you spot it? Yep, there's a pink-bellied moth (Oenochroma vinaria) hoping you won’t see it. When at rest, the ones on the moth's forewings line up to resemble the veins of leaves. (Image credit: Auscape/UIG/Getty) Desert hide-n-seek There really is an animal hiding in this image. Stumped? It's a cryptic juvenile horned lizard ( Phrynosoma solare), and this little one has camouflaged itself among spring wildflowers in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona. (Image credit: Wild Horizons/UIG/Getty)