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23 Examples of Animals that Transform (A to Z List & Pictures)

chameleon

Animals that transform include arctic fox, butterflies, flamingo, flatfish, and cuttlefish.

Whether it’s by camouflage to blend into the environment or to look more intimidating, these animals know how to use their physical features for protection.

Some animals can transform in a matter of seconds and others take years.

Let’s look at the most common animals that transform in the wild.

Examples of Animals that Transform

There are many animals that transform. These creatures change their skin, body shape, and even color to protect themselves from predators or camouflage into the surroundings.

Some of these species can also do this at will.

Here you find some examples of such amazing transformation:

1. American Goldfinch

Goldfinch
Scientific NameSpinus tristis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth American
DietOmnivore

American Goldfinches are small, seed-eating birds that can be found throughout North America. These animals have bright yellow feathers and black wings with white spots on the tips of their wings.

The colors of an American Goldfinch’s feathers depend on what types of seeds it eats and what season it is. Their diets consist mostly of thistle, sunflower, and other seeds.

The cells that make up the feathers of American Goldfinches have pigments called carotenoids which give them their bright yellow color!

2. Arctic Fox

arctic fox
Scientific NameVulpes lagopus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeArctic and alpine tundra
DietOmnivore

The Arctic Fox is a small fox that can be found in the arctic regions of the Arctic and alpine tundra.

These animals have thick fur which allows them to survive very cold temperatures.

During winter months when there’s snow on the ground these animals turn white so they blend into their surroundings.

However, during summer these creatures turn their coat to a blueish-grey color for better camouflage when hunting prey.

3. Butterfly

butterfly
Scientific NameRhopalocera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

Butterflies are insects that have a unique life cycle and are one of the well-known animals that transform.

Butterflies start as an egg, move onto a larva or caterpillar stage and finally become adult butterflies.

There are about 17,500 species of butterflies found across the world on every continent except Antarctica.

4. Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog

Scientific NamePhilautus chalazodes
Type of AnimalReptile
Range Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
DietCarnivore

The Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog is a species of frog that inhabits India. These animals build bubble nests in trees and bushes to protect their eggs.

When these frogs lay their eggs they create bubbles that look like jelly-like masses with air pockets inside them. The frog then sits on top of the bubble to keep the eggs safe and warm until they hatch.

The hatchlings are not tadpoles these frogs skip the tadpole stage entirely.

5. Chameleons

Chameleon
Scientific NameChamaeleonidae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAfrica, Madagascar, southern Europe, and southern Asia
DietOmnivore

There are over 2000 species of chameleon, but one of the most well-known is the veiled chameleon. This animal has a unique ability to change color depending on its mood or surroundings.

Chameleons are very adaptable animals because they have separate mobile eyes that can move independently from each other. This allows them to see in two different directions at once.

Chameleons are known for their very sticky and strong tongues. These animals have an extremely long tongue which can be twice as long as their body.

6. Eastern Newt

newt
Scientific NameNotophthalmus viridescens
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeNorth America
DietCarnivore

The Eastern Newt is a species of salamander that inhabits the Northeastern United States and Canada.

This animal has special abilities to change colors, regenerate limbs.

The Eastern Newt is a type of newt that has toxic skin and bright orange spots to ward off predators.

This salamander can even change from green when in water, brown on land with black splotches for better camouflage, or yellow when under stress.

7. Eastern Hellbender

Scientific NameCryptobranchus alleganiensis
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeNew York to northern Georgia
DietCarnivore

Eastern Hellbenders are a type of salamander that can be found in the eastern regions of North America.

These animals have wrinkly skin and flattened tails to help them swim.

The Eastern Hellbender’s tail is able to regenerate itself if it falls off during battle with other hellbenders or predators.

8. Flamingo

flamingo
Scientific NamePhoenicopterus roseus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSouth America, Africa, Mexico
DietOmnivore

The Flamingo is a bird that lives in the subtropical regions of South America, Africa, and more.

These animals have long legs which help them stand in shallow water as they feed on algae. When baby flamingoes are born they are actually white the pink color of flamingos comes from their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae.

9. Flatfish

Flatfish
Scientific NamePleuronectiformes
Type of AnimalFish
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Flatfish Flat eyes change as the flatfish grows. When they are babies, both eyes sit on either side of their heads.

As these fish grow older one eye migrates to the other side of its body and it changes color.

Only when it’s an adult it lives at the bottom of the seafloor.

10. Golden Tortoise Beetle

Scientific NameCharidotella sexpunctata
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNorth America
DietHerbivore

The Golden Tortoise Beetle is a type of beetle that inhabits North America and Asia. These animals have a very special defense: they can change color to blend in with their surroundings.

The Golden Tortoise Beetle is the most colorful of the tortoiseshell beetles, and this insect has even been known to perform a disappearing act by changing from bright yellow or orange-red into dark brown spots.

This beetle also changes colors depending on temperature, humidity, and time of day.

11. Immortal Jellyfish

Scientific NameTurritopsis dohrnii
Type of AnimalScyphozoa
RangeMediterranean Sea
DietCarnivore

The Immortal Jellyfish is the only jellyfish to not die after reproducing.

This species of jellyfish has special cells inside their bodies called “Astatula” which allows them to revert back into a juvenile state in case they get injured or sick so they can recover and start all over again.

12. Kea

Kea
Scientific NameNestor notabilis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSouth Island of New Zealand
DietOmnivore

The Kea Parrot is a type of parrot that lives in the mountainous regions of New Zealand. These animals are known for their intelligence and curiosity.

These parrots aren’t born with their colorful feathers, they are born white and only several months later they turn into the vibrant color birds we know.

13. Ladybugs

Ladybug
Scientific NameCoccinellidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Ladybugs are the most well-known type of beetle in North America. Their bright colors and spots make them one of the most colorful insects.

But they only get these bright colors in the final stages of their life. When larvae hatch they are black and when larvae are fully grown they are yellow.

14. Laysan Albatross

Albatross
Scientific NamePhoebastria immutabilis
Type of AnimalBird
RangePacific Ocean
DietCarnivore

Another bird species where the young do not resemble their parents is Laysan albatrosses, which are another name for these birds.

Baby Laysan albatrosses, unlike baby keas, emerge as cute fuzzy gray masses when they hatch. The babies gradually develop adult feathers and shed their juvenile feathers as they mature.

15. Mayfly

mayfly
Scientific NameEphemeroptera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

The Mayfly is a type of insect that can be found all around the world.

These short-lived insects have an incredible transformation from larvae into adults.

Meaning that they skip the pupa stage and grow directly from larvae to the adult stage.

The adult form of this insect only lives for one day before they lay their eggs and die, but during those 24 hours, these bugs reproduce and fly away to spread out over different areas!

16. Mimic Octopus

Scientific NameThaumoctopus mimicus
Type of AnimalCephalopod
RangeIndonesia
DietCarnivore

The mimic octopus is most well-known because of its ability to imitate other sea creatures.

Some examples include lion fish, sea snakes, jellyfish, and sea anemones, and other types of fish that uses camouflage.

The mimic octopus is commonly known as the “solar-powered” octopus. This animal uses a special pigment called melanin to protect itself from ultraviolet light in shallow water by changing its color.

17. Mimic Poison Dart Frog

mimic poison dart frog
Scientific NameRanitomeya imitator
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangenortheastern Peru
DietInsectivorous

The Mimic Poison Dart Frog lives in the rain forests of Central and South America.

These animals are known for their bright colors.

The reason why these frogs have such vivid colors is that they are mimicking the real poisonous dart frog.

This is one of few animals that mimic something that they are not so they can warn predators about how poisonous they are.

18. Mutable Rain Frog

Scientific NamePristimantis mutabilis
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeEcuadoran Andes
DietCarnivore

The Mutable Rain Frog is a species of frog that can be found in the rain forests of South America. These amphibians are known for their ability to change the texture of their skin very fast.

The skin cells on this creature’s backs contain pigments called “chromatophores” which allow them to change the texture from smooth to spiky.

19. Nudibranch

Nudibranch
Scientific NameNudibranchia
Type of AnimalMolluscs
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Nudibranch is an ocean-dwelling invertebrate related to octopuses and squid.

These creatures use a broad muscle called a foot to move thru the water. Unlike other cephalopods, they are born with a shell and as they grow older they lose the shell and develop gills and feelers.

This species changes color using chromatophores the same as octopuses and squids can.

20. Peacock Spider

peacock spider
Scientific NameMaratus volans
Type of AnimalArachnid
RangeAustralia
DietCarnivore

The Peacock Spider is a species of spider that can be found in Australia.

These creatures are known for the bright colors on their bodies. Even though these spiders have such vivid colors, the females are mostly brown and black to blend into the environment where they live.

The transformation stages of these spiders are egg, egg sac, spiderling, adult. Only when reaching adult stages do they tend to get their colors.

21. Stoat (aka Short-Tailed Weasel)

Stoat
Scientific NameMustela erminea
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAlaska and Canada
DietCarnivore

The stoat has an incredible talent for changing its coat color to help camouflage itself in different environments.

These creatures are known for their brown coats during the summer months, but they can turn completely white if temperatures get lower.

Scientists believe that these animals change colors depending on outside temperature and also because it makes them easier to hunt.

22. Virginia Opossum

Virginia Opossum
Scientific NameDidelphis virginiana
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America and Mexico
DietOmnivore

The Virginia Opossum is a marsupial that can be found all across North America.

This is another animal that goes thru a full transformation from baby to adulthood.

When they are born they are pink and only get their colors of adults hood many months later.

These animals are known for their ability to play dead. When they feel threatened, these creatures will roll over on their backs and start making loud hissing noises.

23. White-Spotted Pufferfish

Pufferfish
Scientific NameArothron hispidus
Type of AnimalFish
RangeIndian and Western Pacific Oceans
DietCarnivore

The White-spotted Pufferfish is a pufferfish that inhabits the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans.

This animal has been known to change its color from grey when it’s in distress, white for blending in with the sand or rocks on the seafloor, dark brown or blackish when hunting prey.

Fish are known for their ability to change color, but the White-spotted Pufferfish is unique because it can also alter its shape.

This pufferfish has been seen puffing up with water or air when threatened by predators.

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