The Dynastor darius darius is an odd-looking caterpillar from the jungles of Trinidad. It has a long green body and a black and brownish-red head, which is covered by little hairs that burst out like miniature fireworks. It spends most of its life on the ground, where it blends in with fallen leaves.
In its caterpillar state, the insect doesn't look like much, but when it enters the pupal stage - the part where caterpillars make a chrysalis (cocoon) and later emerge as butterflies - this little bug may have one of the most clever disguises in all the animal kingdom.
That's because D. darius is famous for its uncanny snake head chrysalises.
Seriously, the resemblance is uncanny.
During its 13-day metamorphosis, the pupa rests inside a cocoon that looks a lot like a Gaboon pit viper (which, strangely enough, is not native to Trinidad at all).
This disguise is pretty clever, but here's the kicker: the pupa can still sense the outside world and, when danger approaches, it shakes back and forth inside. This causes the “snake head" to imitate the back-and-forth motion of a viper preparing to attack.
That's one mean-looking chrysalis.