Moth looks like a dead leaf


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/04/moth-looks-like-a-dead-leaf.html


#2

Well dammit now when I’m biking in the fall and enjoying the crush sound of dry leaves as I swerve to run over all of them, I have to think I might be a murderer. Thanks.


#3

This breaks my brain in the good way. I know Lamarkism is getting a second chance, under “epigenetics”, but neither epigenetics nor natural selection explains how the rules of chiaroscuro have spontaneously recapitulated themselves into the genome of this moth.

I hope someday evolutionary theory can catch up to observed phenomena. “intelligent design” is just a bunch of handwaving just-so storirs.


#4


#5

That would be cool if they had like this venomous stinger? And then they lay their eggs in you and…


#6

That is amazing mimicry, but I don’t see why it can’t be explained by natural selection


#7

Yep, Mysterious Forces got an A+ in art & design class for this one.


#8
  1. Epigenetics really has nothing to do with Lamarkism or other non-Darwinian forms of evolution, despite what the media likes to say. It’s moderately interesting that traits can be passed along for a generation or two by DNA methylation states, but these aren’t actual genetic changes and so can’t be a cause of evolution – they are just a result of it.

  2. Mimicry is not terribly hard to understand by natural selection. No intelligence of any kind is required – if moths that vaguely look like leaves by chance tend to get eaten less often, it isn’t very surprising that their offspring that by chance look even more like leaves are even more protected and after countless generations this is the result.


#9

We get these in the Colorado mountains - this one was on my cabin near Estes Park. Not quite as elaborate as the Asian moth, but same idea…look like a leaf.


#10

that reminds me of aspens in the fall. i lived in estes for 2 years in the 90s.


#11

You’re right - looks just like a dead aspen leaf. Since they are all over my yard, I think that’s a pretty effective disguise!


#12

weird. does look a bit almost like ginkgo

maybe it is asian; could this be an invasive species?


#13

All that incredible camouflage didn’t stop it from being pinned to a board, did it?


#14

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