Category Archives: mimicry

The spider that looks like a plant

by Matthew Cobb This fantastic picture popped into my Tw*tter feed. It was taken by Kurt, a nature/macro photographer based in Kuala Lumpur. It is reproduced with permission and can be found on the spider page of his great website – that page also includes ant-mimic spiders mating (a terrible tangle of legs)! What exactly […]

Three amazing examples of camouflage (no nightjars)

JAC: Thank Ceiling Cat that Matthew has—at least temporarily—gone off cryptic nightjars. But he’s still fascinated by mimicry, and gives us several nice examples. I had no idea that there were leaf fish, and the modification of their behavior is as impressive as the modification of their shape and color (and that eye stripe is […]

Here’s the ptarmigan

I am back in Chicago, and Matthew asked me to post the solution to “Where’s the Ptarmigan [read "nightjar'] post. Here it is: by Matthew Cobb A tough one – you couldn’t enlarge the photo, and the bird was some way away. But I managed to spot it! Kate said to me on FB: “It […]

Spot the nightjar—the video

OMG; I can’t believe I’m putting up yet another “spot the nightjar” post! Blame it not on me, but on Professor Cobb, especially if you fail at spotting the nightjars! (I’m starting to think that Cobb has an obsession with these birds.) by Matthew Cobb The good folks at Project Nightjar at Exeter and Cambridge […]

More mothy mimicry

This photo may have been staged to accentuate the mimicry of this buff-tip moth (Phalara bucephala), but there’s little doubt that it evolved to resemble a broken twig. It’s another remarkable case of the efficacy of natural selection. Note how its head (a feature that birds often look for) is appressed to the twig to […]

Here’s the butterfly—identified

I guess the readers correctly identified this morning’s butterfly as the Comma Butterfly, Polygonia c-album (also known as the “anglewing” for obvious reasons), though I don’t know how it got that weird Latin binomial. It’s remarkably cryptic, and here’s the picture reader John took when the beast was removed from the background: The white comma-shaped […]

Caturday felid trifecta: Camouflage in cats, a feline apology, and an epic cat fail

Here’s a remarkable case of a felid mimicking a hot beverage. I’m not sure of the adaptive significance of this, as no known nonhuman predators are known to drink cappuccinos. One tuxedo cat has transgressed, and appears to be apologizing to another. So sweet! Be sure to watch to the end: Finally, what is labelled […]

Flower mimicry FTW

We simply must have some mimicry for Darwin Day, for mimetic animals provided some of the earliest evidence for natural selection. This picture, by the ace photographer Igor Siwanowicz, is of a flower-mimicking mantid.  The hornswaggled pollinators get eaten, of course. Can you spot the mantid? :-) From Twitter via Matthew Cobb ~

Nightjars: camouflage doesn’t always help

[JAC note: As Matthew emphasizes below, the second video is a bit gruesome, so read the notes before you watch it. As for Matthew's Nightjar Fetish, we're still trying to get him help.] by Matthew Cobb From the number of photos we’ve posted here, I think by now we’re all  convinced that nightjar camouflage is […]

Here’s the nightjar

by Matthew Cobb You see?—I told you it was easy. You can see its closed eye, a horizontal slit, on the right of the oval.

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