Category Archives: mimicry

The wonderful world of ant mimics: photos by Alex Wild

Should I have called this post: “You won’t believe these animals that look like ants!”? I won’t reiterate the many reasons why I love mimics, and why every evolutionary biologist (or even admirer of nature) should, too. Just go over to photographer/entomologist Alex Wild‘s lovely “ant mimic” page to see the diversity of taxa that have evolved to […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

This week will be the last for a while in which I show readers’ wildlife photos, but keep sending them in, though I’m going to ask readers to restrict their emails to me when I’m on the road, as my email access will be spottier. Continuing from yesterday, we have Swiss reader Jacques Hausser’s second […]

Two Sunday morning tw**ts

Here are two tw**ts that Matthew Cobb (who had insomnia last night after nightmares about his young cat Harry dying [Harry is fine]): This one has a cute gif, but I don’t understand the title at all. Can any reader furnish a good explanation? and That species, known from Sri Lanka and southern India, is also […]

Parrot cries like a baby

Looks like today’s an almost all-biology day, which is fine with me; we need a day without godless ranting! To finish off our bird theme, we have this video of a green parrot that has obviously cohabited with a baby. I don’t know the species, but I’m SURE some readers do, so put the answer […]

Pupa in Trinidad mimics snake (and moves!)

This piece, from nerdist. com, describes one of the more amazing cases of mimicry I’ve seen. Look at the picture below, and see what you think it is: It’s not a snake, despite the very snake-y appearance of the thing. It has eyes (fake), the eyes even have a “glint” in them (fake), it has a […]

Chemical mimicry in an aphid

I’ve posted a lot about morphological mimicry in animals: the evolved resemblance of one species’ appearance to that of another, or to the environmental background. This mimicry can serve to protect animals from being spotted by predators, or, if you’re a predator, to hide yourself from your prey. The latter situation, in which animals resemble something else […]

Spot the canyon tree frogs!

by Matthew Cobb This picture was taken by @NashTurley and posted on Tw*tter about an hour ago. I can see eight tree frogs. How about you? Nash kindly mailed me the his-res version of the phot and added: I found these along a river in Sabino Canyon just North of Tucson, AZ. It’s a beautiful oasis […]

A stunning (possible) case of mimicry: bird nestling resembles a toxic caterpillar in appearance and behavior

There is at least one species of bird that is toxic to predators and shows it off by displaying bright “aposematic” (warning) colors. That one, the hooded pitohui of New Guinea (Pitohui dicrhous), was discovered to be toxic by Jack Dumbacher, one of our grad students at Chicago, and now Curator of Ornithology at the Cal Academy […]

Fantastic slo-mo video of butterfly courtship

by Matthew Cobb This video was posted on Instagram and tw**ted by @phil_torres, who took the video *and edited it* on his iPhone 6. It really is quite astonishing! Phil reckons the species is Heliconius ismenius. The male is flying, the female is resting. The movement of the male’s abdomen up and down involves casting pheromones […]

Here’s the caterpillar!

Did anybody spot the caterpillar? It’s out there in plain sight, I tell you! It’s circled below. If you couldn’t see it, what do you think the chances are a bird would? These photos and their explanation are from Mark Sturtevant, who posed the puzzle earlier: The hidden caterpillar is of course the mature larva of […]

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