PHOTOGRAPHED AT WHITE OAK CONSERVATION, YULEE, FLORIDA
Parts of this photo
essay are drawn from
Sartore’s new book,
Photo Ark Wonders, on
sale at shopdisney.com.
The highly venomous Malayan krait
is unassuming in colorless bands. A
South American swan’s snow-white
body is topped with a coal-black head.
The clown knifefish seems to wear
black-and-white portholes down its
silver sides. While some birds proclaim
themselves in color, the Timneh parrot
and the Carnaby’s black cockatoo stick
to cool gray.
Other patterns borrow from the
background, strategies for blending
in and staying unseen. The chain
catshark’s murky mottling mirrors
shifting patterns of dark and light on
the ocean floor. Splitfins shimmer like
sunlight on water.
Wood turtles’ shells sport elegant
mosaics, picking up earth tones of the
leaf litter where they scuttle. A grass
mouse striped like the stubble it calls
home, a katydid as brightly veined as
the leaves that fall around it, a whip
snake’s scales in hues of the rainforest
it winds through—all exhibit patterns
from the environments they inhabit.
The animal kingdom offers patterns
in abundance. Some we interpret to
have a purpose, but others seem like
arbitrary shapes and colors combined
with abandon—nature’s artistry. j
ABOVE: The okapi is
striped like a zebra,
but its closest rel-
ative is the giraffe.
This reclusive native
of dense, humid
rainforests in the
of the Congo uses its
18-inch tongue to eat
more than a hundred
species of plants.