01 April 2023

Batesian mimicry

Posted on April 1 - not to fool you, but to demonstrate how Nature fools Nature.
The strategy of pretending to be something other than what you really are is of course common, and not just for humans. In my backyard in Connecticut, for instance, the caterpillar of the swallowtail butterfly Papilio troilus does a brilliant imitation of bird poop, to avoid being eaten by birds. Later in its development, it turns green and produces eyespots so it can pretend to be a snake.

In Malaysia, a spectacular adult moth, Macrocilix maia, one-ups the poop mimics by mimicking bird poop on its body, and two flies feeding on the poop on its wings... All this is just Batesian mimicry. We’re not even going to talk about Müllerian, Wasmannian or Bakerian mimicry.
More at The Grand Animal Costume Party.  Photo credit: Gerry Images/Flickr RF

Not to be confused with crypsis, BTW.

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