Sometimes, evolution is drunk. Sometimes, it’s just plain boring. And then, in cases like the ‘Dead Leaf Moth‘ (Uropyia meticulodina), it’s kinda creepily superintelligent. Despite its wings being flat…
…It’s not just brown like a dead leaf, it’s brown like a curled up, dead leaf
And it’s not just brown like a curled up, dead leaf, it depicts a leaf catching the light, with shadows in all the right places and you can even see the veins casting tiny shadows along the curled underside. It’s like one of those optical illusions that still work even when you know it’s a trick.
Leaf coloured camouflage is one thing. A two-dimensional leaf resemblance is pretty cool. But when you think of all the ‘random’ mutation that has to come into sync to become a 3D representation of a leaf – including the correct positioning of shadowing and light sheens, the correct positioning and angles of the ‘underside’ fold of the leaf (and associated veins), etc – it starts making me wonder whether there’s something we’re missing in the evolutionary process. An octopus can see its surroundings and instantly match its colour and texture via camouflage – can other animals achieve that over long periods of time through some sort of conscious (or subconscious) manipulation of their genetics?