Camouflage Assignment -Wei

“In this island are also found certain trees, the leaves of which, when they fall, are animated, and walk. They are like the leaves of the mulberry tree, but not so long; they have the leaf stalk short and pointed, and near the leaf stalk they have on each side two feet. If they are touched they escape, but if crushed they do not give out blood. I kept one for nine days in a box. When I opened it the leaf went round the box. I believe they live upon air. ”               —–Antonio Pigafetta


Phyllium philippinicum


“Leaf insect, (family Phylliidae), also called walking leaf, any of more than 50 species of flat, usually green insects (order Phasmida, or Phasmatodea) that are known for their striking leaflike appearance. Leaf insects feed on plants and typically inhabit densely vegetated areas. Their natural range extends from islands in the Indian Ocean, across parts of mainland South Asia and Southeast Asia, to Papua New Guinea and Australia in the western Pacific.


Phyllium bioculatum (Mt. Salak, West Java, Indonesia - 2006)


Leaf insects measure roughly 28 to 100 mm (1.1 to 3.9 inches) in body length. Females of the largest known species, Phyllium giganteum, may exceed 100 mm. Males tend to be smaller than females. In addition, females typically have large forewings (elytra, or tegmina) that lie edge to edge on the abdomen. They also tend to lack hind wings and usually are flightless. The male, by contrast, has small forewings and non-leaflike (sometimes transparent), functional hind wings. Newly hatched young (nymphs) are wingless and brown or reddish in colour. After hatching, they climb food plants, becoming green after feeding on leaves.


Phyllium giganteum (Cameron-highlands, Pahang, Malaysia - 1992)


Leaf insects or walking leaves are some of the most remarkable leaf mimics in the entire animal kingdom. These insects take the appearance of a leaf to hide themselves from predators. They do this so accurately that predators often aren’t able to distinguish them from real leaves. In some species the edge of the leaf insect’s body even has the appearance of bite marks.

Behaviour of leaf insects

This species of leaf insect is very quiet during the day, but becomes active during the night. When they walk they will walk in a stop-go kind of way as if they are moved by the wind. The males can fly once they become adults, and they generally will do this often when disturbed. The females cannot fly.

Food for leaf insects

This species of leaf insect eats blackberries, rose and oak leaves. Nymphs are prone to drowning, so make sure you do not provide them with large droplets of water.
Young nymphs cannot eat from undamaged leaves, so you should cut of the edges of the leaves to allow them to eat.


As an insect, leaf insect is pretty low on the food chain, so its predators are numerous. Birds swoop down to attempt a nibble, and on the ground rodents, reptiles, spiders and even other insects consider walking sticks a meal. Leaf insects have gained a reputation as survivalists, though, because of their various ways of avoiding being consumed.


When camouflage fails and the stick insect is spotted anyway, it still has a few more tricks to try. Some will, if pecked at by a predator, immediately fall to the ground and remain motionless — just another falling leaf or branch. Others will make their bodies as rigid as the sticks they resemble, hopefully discouraging anything that thinks they are edible. Should the predator attempt to munch on the stick insect anyway, more defensive measures are put into play. Some species leak blood from their leg joints; others vomit up an noxious liquid in hopes that the prey will taste that first and give up. If the insect is gobbled up anyway, the foul taste may, however, discourage the predator from eating the next one it finds.




Making leave clothes

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My original idea was to making a suit that look like a leaf bug. I was planning to making a cape that looks like leaves and hide inside the bushes. After the group discussion and based on my perception research, I am inspired by the cuttlefish and how they are able to changing colour and texture with their surrounding environment.

-Here’s a video showing how cuttlefish camouflage:


-Here is a article about cuttlefish:

“Biologists at the University of Cambridge and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., have discovered that cuttlefish, masters of camouflage whose shape-shifting talents have fascinated biologists for decades, can lock hundreds of tiny structures under their skin into an upright position, giving themselves a particular texture, then go on their way without expending any energy to keep up the look.

Cuttlefish are the chameleons of the sea: Put one in front of a bank of seaweed and he or she will immediately activate a set of reflectors and colored cells in the skin to match their background and fade from view.”

Left, a black-and-white closeup of a European cuttlefish’s papillae. Right, a cuttlefish using color, pattern and texture to resemble better the rocks and algae around it.



In the current study, as part of an experiment to help understand how cuttlefish control their color and shape, Dr. Wardill’s colleague Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido snipped a nerve that controls one section of the cuttlefish’s skin.

One of the two cuttlefish she used in the experiment, as expected, kept its skin smooth and could no longer change color in the portion affected by the surgery, though it swam around healthily enough.

The other, however, had had its papillae extended at the moment the cut was made. To Dr. Gonzalez-Bellido’s surprise, they did not relax. Instead, as she perplexedly moved the animal to different water tanks and watched its unaffected side change shape and color quite normally, the papillae stayed up. Only after an hour did they finally subside.

It turns out that these papillae can be locked in position if they are dosed with certain neurotransmitters, which that particular cuttlefish had likely just released when the nerve was cut.

The researchers believe that cuttlefish use this previously unknown locking mechanism to sustain their disguise as a piece of rock or coral without having to actually hold their muscles in the same posture for an extended period of time.


Article: Cuttlefish use vision rather than touch to mimic textures:

Cuttlefish use visual cues to control three-dimensional skin papillae for camouflage.

“Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis use chromatophores and light reflectors for color change, and papillae to change three-dimensional physical skin texture.Papillae vary in size, shape and coloration; nine distinct sets of papillae are described here. The objective was to determine whether cuttlefish use visual or tactile cues to control papillae expression. Cuttlefish were placed on natural substrates to evoke the three major camouflage body patterns: Uniform/Stipple, Mottle and Disruptive. Three versions of each substrate were presented: the actual substrate, the actual substrate covered with glass (removes tactile information) and a laminated photograph of the substrate (removes tactile and three-dimensional information because depth-of-field information is unavailable). No differences in Small dorsal papillae or Major lateral mantle papillae expression were observed among the three versions of each substrate. Thus, visual (not tactile) cues drive the expression of papillae in S. officinalis. Two sets of papillae (Major lateral mantle papillae and Major lateral eye papillae) showed irregular responses; their control requires future investigation. Finally, more Small dorsal papillae were shown in Uniform/Stipple and Mottle patterns than in Disruptive patterns, which may provide clues regarding the visual mechanisms of background matching versus disruptive coloration.”


So I am thinking of making a rock near the Phenix building, which I am able to fit in the environment without people’s awareness. The place I found are:


A rock beside Phenix Building


Similar rock texture surrounding




All the material I used to fulfill the rock are recycle garbages. I used a abandon paper box that could fit me and type it with a lot of papers and cottons.




I taped all the material together to make an irregular shape that look like rock.



I covered the whole thing with a silver plastic table-cover and paint on top of it.


I painted several layers with black, white acrylics and metal paints.

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I will sit and hide near the phenix place and cover my top body using the rock as I blend in the surrounding to camouflage myself.


Some documentation of my rock project:







I hide in the rock to camouflage.