Camouflage can be described as using any combination or coloration of materials or illumination to conceal animals or objects. Examples of camouflage include the leopard's spotted fur, the battledress worn by a soldier in modern times, and the leaf-mimic wings of the katydid. Motion dazzle is a third option.
It confuses the observer by using a conspicuous pattern. This makes the object visible but temporarily harder to find and makes general aiming easier. Most camouflage techniques aim to achieve crypsis. This is achieved by closely resembling the background, high contrast, disruptive coloration, and eliminating shadow.
The main camouflage methods in the open ocean are transparency, countershading, and silvering. Light can also be used to counter-illumination of cephalopods like squid. Chameleons and other animals like octopuses can actively change their skin color and pattern for camouflage or signaling. Some plants may use camouflage to avoid being eaten by herbivores.
The 19th century saw increased firearms accuracy and range, prompting military camouflage. Personal concealment in battle became a survival skill, thanks to the introduction of the rifle and the inaccurate musket.
Military camouflage was a rapidly developing skill in the 20th century, particularly during the First World War. Artists like Andre Mare created camouflage schemes on land and observation posts disguised in trees. Merchant ships and troop carriers were painted with dazzle patterns to make it difficult for enemy submarines to determine speed, range, and heading. Various camouflage techniques were used during and after World War II to disguise ground vehicles and aircraft in multiple theatres of conflict. Radar has made camouflage obsolete for fixed-wing military aircraft.
Camouflage can also be used for non-military purposes, such as making cell phone towers less intrusive and allowing hunters to approach game animals. Fashion clothing often incorporates patterns derived from military camouflage. This is due to their robust designs and sometimes their symbolism. Modern art often uses camouflage themes, both literally and metaphorically.
It's strangely satisfying to see two seemingly unrelated things combined in a seamless visual mix.
Here are our favorite serendipitous camouflages, courtesy of r/accidentalcamouflage.