Bugged out!

Nature never fails to astound me. This little fellow below is the Goniurellia tridens, and has developed the animal world equivalent of a tattoo – images of jumping spiders on it’s wings.

Photo credit: Peter Roosenschoon

Anna Zacharias wrote in The National:

[A] closer examination of the transparent wings of Goniurellia tridens reveals a piece of evolutionary art. Each wing carries a precisely detailed image of an ant-like insect, complete with six legs, two antennae, a head, thorax and tapered abdomen.

When threatened, the fly flashes its wings to give the appearance of ants walking back and forth. The predator gets confused and the fly zips off.

Yes, the above quote says the images are of ants, but according to one reader Mark ‘Doctor Bugs‘ Moffett, “as someone who has studied ants for years and also jumping spiders (salticids), I can tell you that that fly has spider images in its wings, not ants…Unlike ants, jumping spiders are visual and see their image in the wings, I’ve watched them dance to [an] image (thinking it a mate) rather than eat the prey.”


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