Not that it helps Darwinism one bit. From ScienceDaily:
By studying the evolutionary relationships of the orchid mantis and its distant relatives, the team discovered that females in the orchid mantis lineage increased in size and changed color over their evolutionary history to gain advantage over large pollinating insects, such as bees, as well as the ability to attract them for predation. However, the morphologically dissimilar males are small and camouflaged, enabling them to live a life of predator avoidance and mate finding. The team found that this difference in males and females, termed sexual dimorphism, was likely the result of female predatory success that favored larger and more conspicuously colored individuals. This result challenges the traditional explanation for sexual dimorphism in arthropods as an increase in female egg production and suggests female predation strategy led to the differing male and female ecologies in the orchid mantises.
So that explains why it is an advantage to females to evolve eloborate disguises.
But then the Darwin gap appears: How do the females manage to look like flowers?
“It was not our intention to study the orchid mantises specifically, but when a unique pattern emerges, one must pursue fascinating results,” said Svenson, curator of invertebrate zoology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and adjunct assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University. “Finding the first case of males and females of a praying mantis species living extremely different adult lives was interesting and unique, but discovering the first case of arthropod sexual size dimorphism caused by female predatory success rather than investment in reproduction was both surprising and rewarding. This is particularly true when the original research focus was to fix the classification system to reflect true evolutionary relationship. Finding patterns in your study group that inform broader evolutionary understanding is the holy grail of systematics research.” Paper. (public access) – Gavin J. Svenson, Sydney K. Brannoch, Henrique M. Rodrigues, James C. O’Hanlon, Frank Wieland. Selection for predation, not female fecundity, explains sexual size dimorphism in the orchid mantises. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 37753 DOI: 10.1038/srep37753More.
This is likely an excellent, long overdue, find. In a world less willing to credit magic to Darwinism, it might have come sooner.
The problem is, how exactly, do female mantises arrange to look exactly like flowers? That is what is killing Darwinism. Not the reasons why some state of affairs is an advantage to a life form but how exactly it happens in a world where the ambient conditions and targets are constantly changing.
See also: Orchids with monkey faces and all manner of “ain’t what it looks like.”
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