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Butterfly Mimcry

animal camoflage butterflies nature insects

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#1 QueenTiye


    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:18 PM

I hate to do this because I'm SO delinquent in the OTHER screenshot game I started (hangs head in shame).  But every now and then you come across something so compelling you HAVE to share it.  Even if you get a few well deserved glares for inconsistency, etc..

Anyway - we all know about the various ways animals hide themselves in nature - their natural stripes forming patterns that help them blend in with their environment, etc. And, we have occasionally heard of creatures mimicking the threatening behavior of creatures known to prey on THEIR predators.  Honestly- I don't know how that happens in nature - it's one of those things that seems excessively unlikely to be evolved - it just SEEMS so deliberate!  And then you come across something like this - which, if its not a hoax - is just beyond incredible...

Butterfly mimicry.jpg

OK - see that?  THAT is a butterfly, looking for all the world, like a lurking kitten - of the bird catching variety.  Um...!

More brilliant minds than mine can probably explain it (or declare it a hoax) but I am stunningly amazed by this image.

Scientific and other explanations welcome!


Een Draght Mackt Maght

#2 Orpheus


    I'm not the boss of you!

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:58 PM

The eyespot (ocellus) is a common mimicry motif among insects, reptiles, birds and fish.

Some have argued that though we anthropomorphize them as eyes, they actually work by other means. Whatever the mechanism, they certainly seem to distract from outline recognition and other food-finding strategies, so this easy-to-develop pattern may leave other prey species easier to recognize. Note that your example butterfly sports a second pair of ocelli, which would stand out more against other backgrounds.

"Conspicuousness, not eye mimicry, makes “eyespots” effective antipredator signals" Martin Stevens, Chloe J. Hardman, Claire L. Stubbins  Behavioral Ecology (2008) 19 (3): 525-531. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arm162

#3 mare serenitatis

mare serenitatis

    magog with a migraine

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:01 AM

^it's not a hoax. That butterfly is rather common in Europe. In Germany, we call it peacock eye because the spots look like those on the feathers of a peacock

My favourite "cheats" are hoverflies: they pretend to be dangerous bees or wasps while actually they are absolutely harmless vegetarians without a sting:

Edited by mare serenitatis, 12 February 2018 - 08:02 AM.

A hug a day keeps the psychatrist away

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