Category Archives: mimicry

A beautiful planthopper that mimics an ant (with a twist)

Planthoppers are in the order Hemiptera—the “true bugs”—along with cicadas and aphids, and are in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha. I’ve written about them before: they have all kinds of bizarre appearances that sometimes defy explanation (e.g., these ones).  In 2012 I wrote a report about a strange planthopper (Formiscurra indicus) that mimicked an ant, but the kicker was […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have one of my favorite creatures—jumping spiders (“salticids”)—photographed by Tony Eales from Brisbane. His notes are indented below: Jumping spiders. I’m a big fan of ant-mimicking jumping spiders. Some of them have extreme modifications to the basic spider body plan as well as behaviours like holding their forelegs up to imitate antenna. However […]

Spot the antlion!

Matthew sent this tweet which shows a cryptic antlion—the predatory larva of a neuropteran insect in the family Myrmeleontidae, whose flying adult looks like a lacewing. (The adults are much less well known than these predatory larvae, which I used to keep as pets as a child). This is rated very easy, but we haven’t […]

Reader’s wildlife photo (and video)

As I reported, Andreas Kay, a superb photographer of Ecuadorian biodiversity, died last October at the young age of 56.  It was a tragic loss, but he left behind a big legacy: nearly 30,000 unpublished photos of insects and plants from Andean Ecuador. These were inherited by reader Lou Jost, a biologist who inhabits a […]

A stunning case of mimicry

I don’t remember encountering this case of mimicry, but it’s so amazing that, when I became aware of it from a tweet (yes, Twitter has its uses), I decided to give it a post of its own. First the tweet, sent to me by Matthew. He added, “This is the Iranian viper, as featured in […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Down in burning Australia, Tony Eales has managed to photograph some of the insects that haven’t yet been incinerated. Note that there is some mimicry as well as crypsis (camouflage) in the photos below. Tony’s notes are indented: Today is a mish-mash of recent things that may be of interest. Last year I photographed a […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Tony Eales from Brisbane sent us some lovely photos of arthopods, including some great examples of mimicry and camouflage (“crypsis”). Tony’s captions are indented. Some mimicry and a few other random arthropods. Three shots of a wraparound spider, Dolophones sp. These are small, only about 8mm across and fairly common, but rarely seen for obvious reasons. […]

Spot the insect, from Piotr Naskrecki

Here are two lovely photos of a mimic taken by photographer/biologist/naturalist Piotr Naskrecki in Gorongosa Park in Mozambique. These appeared on his Facebook page, and I asked for permission to reproduce them. I give his captions below. I’ve also turned this into a “spot the. . .” quiz for those who want a not-too-hard puzzle. […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Today’s photos, including a plant and many arthropods, come from regular contributor Tony Eales, who lives in Queensland. His notes are indented: I’m sending a grab bag of some interesting things I’ve photographed lately. When I was in Western Australia recently I found this beautiful sundew known as the Red-ink Sundew, Drosera erythrorhiza. I’m a big […]

A remarkable case of mimicry: Jumping spider imitates caterpillar

Tony Eales, who provided this morning’s mushroom photos, called my attention to this paper in the Israel Journal of Entomology, describing a remarkable case of mimicry seen in a newly described species of salticid (jumping spider). Click on the screenshot below to see the paper, or you can download the pdf here. It’s remarkable because, […]