With a full palette of colorful wing scales at their disposal, butterflies are capable of pulling off some of the most convincing and complex mimicries in the insect world. At first glance this is a common clear-winged Ithomiid butterfly, which are known for their toxicity and unpalatability. However, it is actually a Clearwinged Mimic-white (Dismorphia theucharila), a non-toxic species of the family Pieridae. It can be distinguished from its toxic models (Oleria spp.) by counting the number of legs: Dismorphia has six, whereas Oleria stands on only four. Insectivorous birds don’t have time to stop and count the legs on every butterfly in the forest, so this mimicry is a highly successful one. Yasuní National Park, Ecuador.
- © Chien C. Lee
- Image Size
- 5537x3691 / 8.7MB
- Contained in galleries
- Mimicry, Central & South America, Insects