Macrocilix maia is a moth with a most unusual camouflage: it looks like two flies enjoying a delicious supper of fresh bird shit. Is this merely some amusing human poop-pareidolia, or did Macrocilix truly evolve an appearance that made avian predators think it was a poisoned meal? There is "scant research," writes research scientist Alex Wild.
The scant published research on the mural moth is systematic in nature, with nary a mention of the incredible mimicry. In fact, the photo-sharing site Flickr has outpaced any academic work: photographer Allan Lee reports in 2009 that the moth reinforces the imagery with a pungent odor. That’s the extent of our knowledge. Macrocilix maia is a Ph.D. project waiting to happen.
Wild was writing in 2011. Has anything interesting been learned of Macrocilix since? Google Scholar suggests only fleeting references in papers and a book, saying nothing more than Wild's summary. There are many splendid specimens on Flickr, all with nearly-identical caco-camo.
Photo: Alexey Yakovlev/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)
Brace for maximum cuteness.
Why you stop. No stop skritchy.
Staff at Mac’s Mission, an animal rescue center in Missouri, named him Narwhal. The healthy 10-week-old pup has an extra tail, smack in the middle of his forehead. Rochelle Steffen, who runs Mac’s Mission, named after a pit-bull terrier she rescued seven and a half years ago, told BBC News Narwhal “is in no pain […]
There are few intellectual exercises better than a good game of chess against a capable opponent, which is why a lot of old hands at the gameplay it online. But there’s still nothing like the tactile thrill of moving a knight into checkmate. (Or sweeping the pieces off dramatically when you lose.) That’s why we’re […]
Got a real music junkie on your list this year? It’s a good bet that they already have a solid pair of earbuds, but probably nothing quite like these Seeds Earphones. Here’s the thing: Wireless earbuds are all the rage right now, and there are a lot of good reasons for that. But for true […]
When it comes to the qualities of a good project manager, you hear a lot of talk about “soft skills” like leadership ability and confidence. And where does confidence come from? It comes from people who are dead certain they know the right steps to take. In other words, you’ve got to master the hard […]