I’m working simultaneously on a talk and a children’s book (talk about brain-stretching!), and I have no neurons to spare today. So, courtesy of ever-attentive Twi**er watcher Matthew Cobb, have a look at this wasp-mimicking beetle.
Entomologists have weighed in, tentatively identifying it as a Cerambycid (longhorn beetle), probably in the genus Enchoptera. It looks to me a bit like the wasp mimic E. apicalis, but the coloration isn’t right.
The wasp it’s mimicking is probably a gasteruptiid wasp; and here is your quiz:
a. If it is a mimic of such a wasp, and the beetle is itself edible and not toxic, what kind of mimicry is this called? You should know the answer by now.
b. If it does mimic a gasteruptiid, one would expect to find the “model” wasp in the same area. After all, a predator’s avoidance of this species, if it is a mimic, would probably have to be learned by, say, a bird who has encountered the wasp, forms an image of it (to avoid it), and then applies that image to the beetle, giving it a selective advantage. (Such avoidance could of course be evolved.) Can you find the Australian model? I’ll leave that to you, but do note that the mimicry hypothesis does make predictions.