Come join us for camouflage Fridays to learn more about Ohio's masters of camouflage.
"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Fridays with Ohio's Masters of Camouflage
At Explore Ohio Outdoors, we love Ohio. And one of the best parts about it is all the wildlife. Not only is it beautiful and captivating, sometimes we cannot even see it at all.
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The American Bullfrog is a large frog. However, it can be hard to see. American Bullfrogs can range in color from green, brown, or gray. Their color and skin texture give them the ability to easily hide in their habitat.
Here is my favorite caterpillar. This is the species that got me interested in caterpillar hunting. This evil little creature is the Saddleback Caterpillar. It has several spines that can break off if touched. The spines then release venom which can cause serious allergic reactions in humans. The caterpillar has false eyes on its rear end to ward off predators.
There is a good chance you have never spotted this caterpillar unless you were looking for it. The Skiff Slug Moth Caterpillar is very small and has the coloring of a dying leaf. The coloring can vary from green to brown and gray. Unlike many other slug moth caterpillars, the Skiff Slug Moth Caterpillar does not have stinging hairs.
Ohio has a lot of interesting spiders. One of them is the Arrowhead Spider. The arrowhead spider has a triangle shaped abdomen that looks like an arrowhead. Since it has such a unique appearance, you would think it would be easy to spot. However, they blend in well with spotted leaves.
Virginia Creeper Sphinx Caterpillars are a type of hornworm. They are large caterpillars with a chubby first abdominal segment. There are 7 slanted lines on each side of the body. When they are getting ready to pupate, they will turn a purplish-brown color. The caterpillar can be found feeding on the foliage of Virginia creeper, grape vines, and viburnums.
Inchworms do not have legs on the middle portion of the bodies. This gives them their unique movement. The inchworm is the larva stage of the geometer moth. In North America, there are over 1,400 species of geometer moths. Inchworms seem to be more active at night. If you are looking to find some inchworms, try using a UV flashlight.
Click on the following link to learn more about caterpillar hunting at night. https://www.exploreohiooutdoors.com/post/caterpillar-hunting-at-night
The Brown Creeper is a small bird that spiral upwards on the trunks of large trees. It searches crevices in the bark for bugs. The underpart of the bird is white. The upper part is streaked brown and buff. The streaking can make it almost invisible against the bark of trees. For the most part, the Brown Creeper eats insects. However, it will also eat peanut butter and suet.
The Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar is unlike most caterpillars. Instead of being tubular, it is flat. Do not touch one of these caterpillars. They have stinging spines lining the whole length of their bodies. The spines can break off in your skin and release venom. Some people may need to seek medical attention due to a serious allergic reaction. The Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar can be found feasting on deciduous trees.
The Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth is also known as the Rose of Sharon Moth. This caterpillar can be found in China, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States of America. It is up for debate if this caterpillar is an invasive species. Some people say it is, while others disagree. The caterpillars have a greenish-yellow color with subtle hints of blues and pinks. The larval stage of the moth feeds on hibiscus leaves.
The Common Green Darner Dragonfly has a bright green thorax and clear wings. The wings are not green like the picture. I left the color behind the wings, so they would be visible. The dragonfly measures about 3” long. The Common Green Darner Dragonfly eats many types of flying insects.
Eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillars are snake mimics. They are green with large eyespots. If disturbed, they have an orange horn they can extend that looks like the tongue of a snake. Once they are ready to pupate, they will purge and turn brown. You can find Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars feeding on tulip, ash, wild cherry, willow, birch, and cottonwood.
Midland Painted Turtles can be found in many places in Ohio. Even though the turtles are abundant in some areas, they can still be hard to spot. Take this picture for instance. The turtle sitting on the rock can easily be seen, but it matches very well. The turtle in the bottom right area is harder to spot. It looks just like another rock.
The Yellow-Shouldered Slug Moth Caterpillar has a striking appearance. It is translucent with a bright green color. It is very hard to spot. The caterpillar measures less than .5” in length. You can find these little caterpillars feeding on apple, beech, elm, oak, and willow.
Pictured below is the Drexel’s Datana Moth. You may be able to see this little one as plain as day. But when you are walking by, it looks like a dead leaf. Without close inspection, you would never know it was a moth.
Here is a camouflaged critter that may frighten some of you. But do not worry, this awesome reptile is here to help us out. It just wants to keep our homes rodent-free. Hiding high up in the trees and looking like a branch is a gray rat snake. And for those of you that didn’t know, yes, snakes can climb trees.
Pictured below is another leaf mimic caterpillar. This one is the Wavy-lined Heterocampa (Heterocampa Biundata). This sneaky thing is very difficult to spot. Once you spot it, then look away, it can be hard to find again.
American toads vary in color from grays to reds and browns. Their main color usually contains random spotting that helps with their camouflage. Often, when spotted, the American toad will remain completely still and blend in with their surroundings.
Pictured below is the American Woodcock. The woodcock nests on the ground, so camouflage is extremely important. Its feathers have an all over brown pattern, which helps make the bird disappear into the leaf litter. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing an American Woodcock walk in person, check out the attached video. They are so hilarious and cute!
Ewwww! A pile of bird poop.
Nope, this is not bird poop. It is the caterpillar of the viceroy butterfly. Unlike many other bird dropping mimics, this caterpillar resembles the poop during every instar. Viceroy butterflies are often confused for monarchs.
The insect in this picture is huge, yet hard to spot.
Pictured below is the Northern Walkingstick. The bizarre insect is usually either brown or green. The northern walking stick can grow up to 7” in length. They are nocturnal insects that can often be found hiding in trees and bushes during the day.
We have two birds in this photo. One is harder to spot than the other.
Camouflaged in the center of this photo is a lesser yellowlegs. The lesser yellowlegs is a shorebird that can be found in wetland habitats. They can often be observed in the company of other shorebird species. Pictured in the upper left, is a killdeer.
Who's hiding in this photo?
Pictured below is one of the many species of katydid you can find in Ohio. This insect is also known as a bush cricket. There are over 8000 known species of katydids around the world. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Pictured below is the red-fringed emerald moth caterpillar eating an oak leaf. The moth larva blends in extremely well by looking like the dying edge of the leaf. Its camouflage is outstanding. This little critter can be really hard to spot.
Barred Owl Zippo Lighter by Wilfreda Designs
Which little critter is hiding in this photo?
Pictured below is the unicorn prominent caterpillar. This fascinating insect is a leaf mimic. You can easily walk by this caterpillar and mistake it for the dead part of a leaf.
Welcome to our first Camouflage Friday.
When we are out in nature, we are never alone. There are eyes everywhere.
Pictured below is the female ring-necked pheasant. The female is buffy-brown with a camouflage pattern. The male, on the other hand, has red facial skin, a white ring around its neck, and a magnificently patterned body.