This fly, Goniurellia tridens, has been discovered in the United Arab Emirates. It’s a small fly, about 3 mm long. On its transparent wings it carries an “anatomically correct” almost perfect — head, chest, abdomen and six legs — pictures of two more flies. It pretends to be a flock of flies to fend off predators. What a stunningly original example of mimicry!
Some Goniurellia tridens display pictures of ants. The theory is that the ants on the wings serve as a diversion: When Goniurellia tridens sees a predator, it begins to move its wings to confuse the enemy and win precious time to escape, while the predator still cannot figure out what exactly and how many “of them” it sees.
Another theory argues that ants drawn on the wings may be an added attribute to attract a prospective mate, offering a feast. On the other hand, flies do not eat ants, so this version seems somewhat unfounded.
At the moment, scientists are at a loss and can not give a precise explanation of why Goniurellia tridens needs such complex mimicry and undergone “evolutionary pains” developing such elaborate artwork on their wings.
However, the “portrait” below doesn’t need much theorizing, does it?
Talk about mimicry! And then there is a fascinating Heikegani Crab…