Animals use camouflage to hide from and confuse predators and prey. For some such animals, their natural appearance mimics, matches, and fades into their surroundings. Others actively shift shape, texture or color to blend in. This amazing ability to hide in plain sight has evolved in parallel across thousands of species, and each animal's cloaking technique is unique.
"They all need to look invisible," says zoologist Martin Stevens of the University of Cambridge, "but the mechanisms can be quite varied." Recent research has focused on how some rare species—cuttlefish, for instance—can even tailor their quick changes to deter different predators. In the following gallery, we capture some of North America's most ingenious disappearing acts.