Insect Mimicry: Top 10 Masters Of Disguise
Another title I'd give to my article would be:
Why Evolution Rocks.
When speaking of evolutionary masterpieces, the kingdom of insects is definitely the place where things got creatively wild. To give insects better odds at survival, nature has given some of them excellent disguise, causing other species to either avoid them or not notice them altogether. It's kind of a sick game nature is playing, giving the predators awesome powers, but also giving the prey a better chance at escaping them.
It turns out really impressive, though, trust me.
1. The Larva of the Hemeroplanes Triptolemus Moth Imitating A Snake
Source: Caters News
Five stars for effort, really.
2. The Oak Leaf Butterfly Imitating.. A Leaf
Source: Unknown I would definitely fall for that.
3. The Hover Fly Imitating a Bee
Source: Matt Bilton on Flickr
This fly is a personal favorite of mine. Even I (a person of moderate intelligence) am not sure if I could tell the difference in time between this and an actual bee:
4. The Atlas Moth's Wings Imitating A Cobra
This blew my mind a bit when I first saw it, I gotta admit.
4. The Lygodium Spider Moth Imitating A Spider
ource: Featured Creature
Maybe.. if I'm drunk and sitting at least a few feet away. Points for playing, though.
6. The Phyllium Giganteum not even imitating, but practically BEING a walking leaf
Source: Smithsonian on Flickr
7. The Phasmatodea Imitating A Stick
Source: Klaus Stiefel on Flickr
Good one, nobody wants to eat a stick.
8. The Swallowtail Caterpillar imitating bird POOP
Source and More Info on this Awesome Creature: National Geographic
What's fascinating is this caterpillar not only looks like poo, it acts like it too - observations show that the caterpillar is careful to remain almost always at a curled up position. It's a brilliant mechanism of defense, if you ask me.
If you want to hear an excellent scientific contemplation on looking like a turd, here you go:
"The ancestral Eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar probably looked nothing like a bird turd, and its predators probably completely ignored bird turd as a source of food. In this population a mutation occurred which made one caterpillar look 2% more turd-like than the others. Eventually the 2% turd mutation would spread throughout the population. As it becomes more common there would be selective pressure on the predator to identify things that look slightly poo-like as potential food sources. This means that if a second mutation occurred which made the caterpillar look 5% like a turd it would then spread in the same way. Selection would then favour birds able to identify these caterpillars. This could then repeat until we end up with caterpillars that look almost 100% like a bird poo and predators that can tell the difference between a 99% bird poo-like caterpillar and a real bird poo."
I seriously can't get enough of nature.
9. The Sycamore Moth Imitating Tree Lichen
And now, the winner of the "Thank you for playing" consolation prize..
10. The Monarch Butterfly Imitating an.. Owl?
It seems to be an owl that's crying because of identity theft.