Can dead leaf attack small animal life that approach them?« Back to Questions List

A dead leaf may not always be what it seems especially in tropical forests. Many insects including butterflies bear an unbelievable resemblance to fallen leaves thus making them the masters of dead leaf disguise. They can easily transform themselves to look like a rotten dead leaves with holes or spots. 


The insects’ wings not only look like leaves but also have transparent spots and ragged edges resembling an insect bitten dead leaf. The insects make sure that the resemblance is not just in shape and color. The wings carry markings that look like leaf veins and spots of decay. They also behave in the right way when there is a danger. When danger threatens, a grasshopper lies on its side among the original dead leaves.

An Indian leaf bug exactly imitates a real leaf. It even rocks back and forth as if it were being blown by the wind. Certain frogs and toads also disguise themselves as dead leaves. The backs of frogs are pale and flattened, and flaps of skin protruding from the edge of the head and body give them a leaf like shape. There are also fish in the South American forest stream called ‘leaf fish’ which acts like a dead leaf to catch its prey.


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