Thursday, March 23, 2017

Moths: Masters of Camouflage and Mimicry (Part 2)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

Furry Moth
Gather the dust and clothe your frame;
Wake up at dusk and play the game;
and feigning dead and devoid of spark,
your enemies take you for just a bark.

Sphinx Moths: 
                            Polymorphism or Diversity?
These three Sphinx moths have strong basic morphological characteristics, including size and color that at first glance one would not suspect their differences.  The shape and position of their antennae are different, so with their "hoods".  Another difference lies in the markings on their bodies and wings.  In some cases a pair of eyes (lowermost photo) appears real to a would-be predator.  

Markings and Transparency
Two ways to mimic and not be seen,
opaque and part of canvas;
or translucent as if you're not there, 
and let the enemy pass. 

The Art of Taking Off
Either it flaps or glides on the wind that a moth flies.  It can be both, Left photo shows a gypsy moth preparing for takeoff with wings drawn up.  At this stage, the predator is puzzled of the sudden transformation into a bright and large abdomen, while the moth flies and escape.  A hawk moth (right)  spreads its wings side wise and prepares to glide.  Without a favorable wind current it is a clumsy flyer.  Because moths are nocturnal, navigation relies mainly on the sensitive antennae and two compound eyes.  
From Dropping to Monster

This Geometrid moth lies prostrate like a dropping of a bird or rodent in order to escape its enemies. Then it begins to stir as it senses danger, its antennae now beginning to rise, and its wings start to split open ready for takeoff.  There is a close relative of the moth (not in the photo) which has a unique defense mechanism.  It twists its outer wings upward and inward, exposing a monstrous look to scare the intruder 

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