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The WordPress quiz is now over; the photo shows the eye spots of a Luna moth, Actias luna if you prefer the latin. The eye spots are an example of Batesian mimicry, a phenomenon in which a harmless or edible species develops features of a harmful or inedible one. In the particular case of the Luna moth the false eye spots are intended to mimic the real eyes of a much larger, more dangerous, prey item. This sort of mimicry is a predator defense and is quite common among the insects. You may be interested to know that the other common type of mimicry observed in nature is called Müllerian in which noxious species, which share one or more predators, come to mimic one another’s warning signals.

The photo below is the original from which the (lower pair of) eye spots were cropped. Adults Lunas live for about a week and do not feed during that time – their singular responsibility is to mate, produce eggs, and to propagate the species. [By the way, many thanks to the three dedicated followers who participated in the quiz.]

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