Each of us are imbibed with an inbuilt passion to survive. May be we get it in our genes and may be it is recorded in our DNA too. While some of it is learnt during the lifetime of the species, most of it is passed on from their previous generations and their struggle for existence. As we mentioned in the previous posts about the disguising techniques used by plants and how they overcome their challenge of mobility by imitating insect behavior. This behaviour is also found in insects as a response to evolutionary and environmental pressures. Many animal species have evolved to display astonishing characteristics mimicking plants. All over the world, naturalists have found evidence of insects that have learned to mimic plants so that they escape predators or trap their prey.
Plant mimicry occurs in many clades of insects, with the most striking cases in butterflies, praying mantises, stick insects and katydids. In these groups, mimicry involves spectacular modifications of the body and wings, in response to predation.
Did you know that the accurate fossil record of plant mimicry is found during the early period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth? Scientist have found disruptive patterns of wing coloration among Upper Carboniferous flying herbivorous insects possibly because at this time the main predators of flying insects were only flying insects.
The recent discovery of a Guadalupian forewing, representing the oldest katydid fossil demonstrates that the leaf-like homomorphous cryptic mimicry was already present >100 million years (Ma) before the previous oldest records. This wing displays the same modifications in shape and venation as seen in modern leaf-like katydids. It also attests that Tettigonioidea are much older than previously thought even older than the Jurassic!
In the next few posts, we will share some of the examples of plant mimicry by insects. At Plant Science by Atrimed, our quest of nature’s secrets continues and we will try and bring you as many interesting facts as we can on our blog and social handles. We encourage you to participate in this discovery with us by following us, commenting and sending in your requests.