Category Archives: mimicry

A mantis showing “special resemblance”

by Greg Mayer We’ve often highlighted here at WEIT the remarkable phenomena associated with mimicry, the often marvelously detailed resemblance of organic beings to other organic or inorganic features of their environment. On a trip to Costa Rica in January, while out for a nightwalk at La Selva Biological Station with Jon Losos, we came […]

A clever new hypothesis about insect mimicry

Over the years I’ve written here about several kinds of mimicry. The most common subjects have been Batesian mimicry, in which the evolutionary scenario involves three species: an easily identifiable and noxious or toxic model, a predator that learns (or has evolved) to avoid the model (signal receiver), and an edible mimic that evolves to resemble the model. You can […]

Moths that may mimic spiders

Since it’s Darwin Day, I’ve featured only evolution-related issues, and let’s finish with some amazing pictures by photographer and entomologist Gil Wizen, taken from his eponymous website (with permission; note that he also has a Twitter page and a Facebook page).  (N.b.: the photos are used with permission and cannot be reproduced further.) In a post called “Petrophilia“, […]

Here’s the insect!

Here’s the answer to “What’s that insect?“, via Twitter. Thanks to Matthew Cobb for sussing this out. Yes, it’s a hemipteran (a “true bug”) in the genus Formiscurra (F. indicus), and it’s also a planthopper that’s an ant mimic. Notice the fake head in front of the real head! Allow me to introduce you to #Formiscurra indicus, […]

Müllerian mimicry in the Hymenoptera

It looks like there will be a bit of biology today, which is a relief to me (and maybe others) given the impending dissolution of our Republic. There are two quiz questions in this post; see if you can answer them in the comments. I’ve posted a bit on Batesian mimicry, in which a noxious […]

Remarkable katydid leaf mimics whose sexes are different colors

Ready for another science post? The laws of physics deemed that today there would be two. A new paper in the Journal of Orthoptera Research by Sigfrid Ingrisch et al. (free link if you join Researchgate [also free]; reference below) describes two recently-discovered and newly-described katydids from Sabah (part of Malaysia on the northern part of […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Tony Eales from Brisbane sent some lovely photos of models and mimics in an email called “Lycid beetle mimicry”. These beetles, in the family Lycidae, are toxic. When a tasty species (“mimic”) imitates a toxic one, it’s called Batesian mimicry. When distasteful species resemble each other, it’s called Müllerian mimicry. All readers should have learned […]

A beetle that mimics a wasp

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. Can any entos confirm whether this is a Mecopteran? Weird one I have never seen before. #WildOz pic.twitter.com/fDfhIdEic7 — Michael […]

An amazing leaf-mimicking spider

If you’re a regular, you know that all the biologists who post here love mimicry. I’ve tried to explain why: it shows the power of natural selection and the degree of perfection that natural selection can attain (i.e., how closely something can come to mimic the background or another animal—the “target”), and the very remarkable and unpredictable […]

A snake-mimicking spider

by Greg Mayer Matthew shared with me an interesting video of a spider from Singapore that looks like the head of a snake. The videographer, Nicky Bay, is most interested in the pulsation of a dark region below the ‘eyes’, but to me it’s the resemblance to a snake that is most striking– the ‘nostrils/loreal […]