Go behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History with arachnologist Hannah Wood and Maddie About Science host Maddie Sofia to see the mimics of the museum’s collection. Atlas moths, stick bugs, leaf insects, ant mimic spiders, and lots of other insects and arachnids mimic other creatures and things to look threatening or unappetizing, to blend in, or to completely camouflage. From NPR:
Most scientists agree that mimicry evolved through natural selection. The insects don’t choose to become mimics, rather some insects are born with mutations that make it more likely for them to survive and pass on their DNA. Some of those mutations can lead to striking changes in appearance or behavior, while others lead to smaller changes. Regardless the mutations that make it more likely for an insect to survive, stick around in a population.
Learn more about Sofia on 500 Queer Scientists and via her hosting gig for NPR’s Short Wave science podcast.
See more amazing masters of disguise including The Lychen Katydid, Leaf Mimic Katydids, Uropyia meticulodina, The Leaf-tailed Geckos (Uroplatus) of Madagascar, and Pygmy Seahorses: Masters of vibrantly-colored coral camouflage.
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