Today the Department of Awesome Camouflage is marveling at this incredible praying mantis who looks more like a collection of sticks and bits of plants than a predatory insect. This exceptionally stealthy mantis belongs to the genus Toxodera, which consists of some of the largest mantids in the world. It was discovered and photographed by Peter Houlihan in Borneo:

Amidst the dense jungles of Borneo lives quite possibly the largest mantis in the world! Yet, despite its size, it remains nearly impossible to find. Late one night, I was collecting insects in the rainforest for my research when I encountered this brilliantly cryptic mantis amongst a swarm of unaware insects. I am still not sure how I spotted it, but it is by far the most impressive mantis I have ever seen.

[via National Geographic and RACERS]

Today the Department of Awesome Camouflage is marveling at this incredible praying mantis who looks more like a collection of sticks and bits of plants than a predatory insect. This exceptionally stealthy mantis belongs to the genus Toxodera, which consists of some of the largest mantids in the world. It was discovered and photographed by Peter Houlihan in Borneo:

Amidst the dense jungles of Borneo lives quite possibly the largest mantis in the world! Yet, despite its size, it remains nearly impossible to find. Late one night, I was collecting insects in the rainforest for my research when I encountered this brilliantly cryptic mantis amongst a swarm of unaware insects. I am still not sure how I spotted it, but it is by far the most impressive mantis I have ever seen.

[via National Geographic and RACERS]

We’ve featured the work of vanishing Chinese artist Liu Bolin, “The Invisible Man,” numerous times before (because it’s just that awesome), but this is the first time we’ve been treated to a time-lapse video of his disappearing act. This was filmed last week at TED2013.

Click here to read a brief interview with Liu Bolin by TED staff about his creative process.

[via Laughing Squid]

It’s been a while since we last checked in on the amazing work of real-life invisible man, Chinese artist Liu Bolin, master of creative camouflage (previously featured here).

If you aren’t already familiar with Liu Bolin's awesome artwork, you should know that there are no post-production tricks used to create these images. The artist is able to seamlessly blend into all sorts of urban environments and busy background scenes thanks to a team of skilled assistants who painstakingly reference photos of the space in which Bolin is standing as they paint him from head-to-toe so that he seems to disappear completely, no matter what that background might be.

Bolin has an exhibition of new work, entitled Liu Bolin: A Colorful World, opening at the Klein Sun Gallery in New York on September 11th and running through november 1, 2014.

Visit designboom for additional images.

Because we’re always happy to be reminded that cuttlefish are incredibly awesome, here’s a fascinating video by Science Friday that invites us to play a game called “Where’s the Cuttlefish?" and learn about how and why these amazing little cephalopods change the color and patterns of their skin. By studying their camouflage capabilities, scientists are learning how the cuttlefish perceive their surroundings and how it’s surprisingly similar to the way humans do:

"Cuttlefish change the patterns on their body for courtship rituals, when they eat a snack, and most famously when they want to blend in. How they change their skin patterns may tell us something about how they see the world, says Duke biologist Sarah Zylinski. Her work suggests that when cuttlefish see incomplete shapes, they fill in the visual blanks — much like humans do.”

[via Laughing Squid]

Fine art body painter Paul Roustan knocked the proverbial socks off the Department of Astonishing Optical illusions with this awesome black and white painting of a Pandora Sphinx moth that beautifully conceals a woman who’s been painted to completely blend in with the moth. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t spot her right away. We didn’t either.

It took the artist five hours to paint the background and an additional two hours to paint the model. He says, “On average it takes me three hours to paint the entire body. This one was a bit more meticulous lining things up, which is why it took so long for just a portion of the body.”

Click here to watch a brief video that provides an even better look at this amazing piece as well as its creation process.

Visit Paul Roustan’s website to check out more of his phenomenal body painting.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

These adorably strange little creatures that looks like a pieces of coral that just woke up are Pygmy seahorses, a species of seahorse that was completely unknown to science until the 1970s. Found in Southeast Asia in the Coral Triangle area, they’re incredibly small - measuring only two centimeters long - which ranks them among the smallest seahorses on earth. So between their itty-bittiess and their amazing ability to blend in amongst the the sea grasses, soft corals and gorgonians that they inhabit, it’s a wonder they were discovered at all.

Photos by Daniel Kwok, Jayvee Fernandez, Pacific Klaus, EOL, Graham Short, and Steven Childs respectively.

Click here to learn more about these awesome little fish and visit Ark in Space for additional images.

[via Kuriositas and Ark in Space]

If any of you are ophidiophobic the Department of Awesome Camouflage would like to offer reassurance that, no matter what your eyes or adrenal cortex are trying to tell you, the animals in these photo are NOT snakes. They’re a wily species of caterpillar that wards off predators by expanding and turning the end of its body, which bears the unmistakable markings of a snake’s head on the underside. If approached, they’ll even go so far as to strike like a real snake. These strikes are completely harmless, but they look so convincing that we’re pretty sure we’d flinch all the same.

This fascinating photo was taken by Daniel Janzen, a biology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica. He’s working there cataloguing caterpillars and says this specimen is a member of the genus Hemeroplanes

[via Telegraph.co.uk and Geekologie]

There goes nature being incredibly awesome again. You may think you’re looking at a couple dried leaves, but you aren’t. These astonishing beauties are moths, specifically Uropyia meticulodina, from the family Notodontidae. Found in parts of China and Taiwan, the patterns on their wings mimic dead leaves so convincingly that they are considered to be one of the finest examples of camouflage in the animal kingdom.

Click here to watch brief video footage of Uropyia meticulodina in the wild. You still won’t believe your eyes.

Photos taken by Bettaman and enyagene respectively.

[via io9 and Real Monstrosities]

It’s Nature is Awesome Day on Geyser of Awesome! Celebrating naturally occurring amazements of all kinds…

Artist Johannes Stötter is a fine-art-bodypainter from South Tyrol, Italy who uses his artistry to blend his subjects into their surroundings so well that they all but disappear. His models appear to take on both the colours and textures of their surroundings and sometimes even transform into other creatures or objects, including fruit and vegetables, trees, rocks, and even wildlife.

For example, the photo at the top of this post appears to feature a colourful frog. Look closely and you’ll see that the frog is composed of five different people carefully painted and positioned so that together they become one beautiful amphibian. Click here to watch a video about how it was done.

Head over to My Modern Metropolis to view more examples of Johannes Stötter’s artwork.

[via My Modern Metropolis and Whudat]

It’s time for another astonishing visit the Department of Awesome Camouflage. This time we’re meeting a very special lizard. You can see the lizard in this photo, right? Don’t worry if you didn’t spot him right away. That just means he’s doing his job.
This is a Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus). Indigenous to the island of Madagascar, these amazing creatures evolved to blend into leafy undergrowth so well that some even have notches in their leaf-shaped tails that make them look even more convincingly like dry, fallen leaves.

""The gecko’s colouration can be brown or grey and it can transform itself into amazing yellow, green, orange and pink hues. Geckos are one of Madagascar’s most unique species. As they sleep flattened against trees of branches with their heads pointing downwards, they can adjust their body coloration to their surroundings.
When at rest laying head down on a mossy or lichen covered branch, geckos are almost impossible to see. The gecko is a master at disguise. Its large eyes help this nocturnal species hunt its prey, large mouths are capable of tackling oversized prey.””

Visit Dailymail.co.uk to learn more about these awesome creatures.
Photo taken at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar.
[via Environmental Graffiti, Brainz, and Dailymail.co.uk]

It’s time for another astonishing visit the Department of Awesome Camouflage. This time we’re meeting a very special lizard. You can see the lizard in this photo, right? Don’t worry if you didn’t spot him right away. That just means he’s doing his job.

This is a Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus). Indigenous to the island of Madagascar, these amazing creatures evolved to blend into leafy undergrowth so well that some even have notches in their leaf-shaped tails that make them look even more convincingly like dry, fallen leaves.

""The gecko’s colouration can be brown or grey and it can transform itself into amazing yellow, green, orange and pink hues. Geckos are one of Madagascar’s most unique species. As they sleep flattened against trees of branches with their heads pointing downwards, they can adjust their body coloration to their surroundings.

When at rest laying head down on a mossy or lichen covered branch, geckos are almost impossible to see. The gecko is a master at disguise. Its large eyes help this nocturnal species hunt its prey, large mouths are capable of tackling oversized prey.”

Visit Dailymail.co.uk to learn more about these awesome creatures.

Photo taken at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar.

[via Environmental Graffiti, Brainz, and Dailymail.co.uk]