Once again, insects reveal themselves to be simply wondrous.
“Researchers have found that the larvae and pupae of Maculinea rebeli – a parasitic butterfly native to western Europe, though threatened with extinction – impersonate red ants so faithfully that worker ants worship them as if they were queens, caring for the developing caterpillar even at the expense of their own lives.
Caterpillar inside a red ant nest, being fed regurgitations by a worker ant
(Courtesy of Jeremy Thomas)
We had known of species imitating the appearance of other species, but this — pretending to be another by singing another’s song — just leaves me in awe of the beautiful wonder of life around us, or, in this case, at our feet.