The Common Baron Caterpillar is a true master of camouflage. When it positions itself perfectly on a mango tree leaf, it is nearly impossible to spot, even if you know it’s there.

Some animals naturally develop camouflage in order to make themselves harder to spot by predators, but some are much better than others, and some blend into their natural surroundings perfectly. The Common Baron Caterpillar (Euthalia aconthea), a critter native to India and Southeast Asia, fits in the latter category. It has evolved to blend into its preferred background so well that it is nearly impossible to see.

The nymphalid butterfly lays its eggs on the back of mango leaves, and it’s from these eggs that the master of camouflage known as the common baron emerges from. As it grows in size, the larvae develops a yellow line across its back, and pine needle-like extensions that help it better navigate their surroundings.

Seen by itself, the common baron caterpillar doesn’t look all that impressive. If anything, the branch-like extensions on its legs just look weird. But seeing it in its natural habitat, perfectly aligned with the stem of large mango leaves (its favorite food) is a whole different story.

Even knowing that a caterpillar is sitting on a mango leaf, you really need to focus to tell it apart from its background, that’s how insanely effective its natural camouflage is. The common baron evolved into a master of camouflage to increase its chances of avoiding predators until it reaches the butterfly stage.

The nymphalid butterfly isn’t nearly as good at blending into its surroundings, with the male being a brown color and females a paler green shade.

The common baron caterpillar is only the latest in a long line of impressive masters of natural camouflage we’ve covered on OC over the years. Check out Kallima inachus, the dead leaf butterfly, this caterpillar that looks like a scary skull, or the Malayan leaf frog.

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