Goal Survival

Evolution has molded some striking traits into living beings. In particular, some insects, disguised as branches or leaves, can escape notice so as to hunt or to hide from predators. To avoid being attacked, other insects develop colors and shapes that deceive other animals and keep them from attacking. Hiding and showing off are two opposite strategies that have been favoring the survival of the fittest for millions of years. •


Gonepteryx sp. The profile of the wings resembles the shape of cut leaves.


Inachis io

The flashy, aposematic

(warning) coloration away


These wings look like leaves, with a similar color, shape, and structure.


The scales are pigmented to look like eyes.

Warning Signals

^^ Mimetism is the imitation of ^ characteristics belonging to dangerous or bad-tasting animals. Replicating the colors and shapes of dangerous animals is known as Batesian mimicry. On the other hand, if an insect produces foul-smelling substances to disgust the predator, that is called Mullerian mimicry.

The most widely imitated insects are ants, bees, and wasps, because they produce toxic substances that can be deadly.


Caligo sp.

Owl butterflies combine Batesian and Mullerian mimicry. Predators can confuse the owl butterfly with leaves, but if a predator succeeds in finding it, the butterfly folds its wings to look like the shape and eyes of an owl. The predator, confused, backs off from attacking.




Extatosoma sp. This stick-like insect sways back and forth as if tossed by the wind.

These insects use survival strategies designed to keep predators from seeing them. This disguise is their only means of defense.

abdomen imitate twigs with dry

Compound; enable them to monitor their environment


move slowly so that the prey will not detect them.

asters of Simulation

^^ Camouflage, or crypsis, is a phenomenon ^ in which animals use amazing disguises as advantageous adaptations. Camouflage is used both by hunters and by potential prey. Insects' bodies may be disguised as various substrates and parts of trees, such as bark, leaves, and branches. These masking techniques are a convenient way for the insect to fade into the background.

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