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The moth Macrocilix maia, found at higher elevations in the Asian tropics, is a striking mimic. In addition to patterns on its dorsal wings that look like bird droppings (including dashes of white glint to indicate their freshness!), the moth also appears to have a fly on each wing. Combined with the moth’s unpleasant odor, these wing patterns keep away would-be predators that only see a fresh batch of smelly bird droppings complete with hungry flies, rather than a tasty moth.
William Piel, PhD, and Antonia Monteiro, PhD, Yale-NUS College and the National University of Singapore, Singapore