Biomimicry Evolution Intelligent Design

Insects were mimicking lichens 165 million years ago

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Scientists discover earliest fossil evidence of an insect lichen mimic
An ecological reconstruction of a 165-million-year-old lacewing mimicking a lichen that existed during the same time period. Credit: Xiaoran Zuo (CC BY 4.0)

Presumably to avoid getting eaten:

The study suggests that the Jurassic moth lacewing Lichenipolystoechotes mimicked the fossil lichen Daohugouthallus to help conceal itself from predators. This interaction predates modern lichen-insect associations by 165 million years, indicating that the lichen-insect mimicry (or ‘mimesis’) system was well established during the mid-Mesozoic period and provided lacewings with highly-honed survival strategies.

Animals sometimes mimic other organisms or use camouflage to deceive predators. Lichens, which consist of a fungus and alga living in close proximity, sometimes have a plant-like appearance and are occasionally mimicked by modern animals and insects. One of the most well-known cases of a lichen-insect association is when the peppered moth acquired a mutation that turned it black during the Industrial Revolution in Britain, allowing the moth to blend in with tree trunks and lichen darkened by soot.

“As lichen models are almost absent in the fossil record of mimesis, it is still unclear as to when and how the mimicry association between lichen and insect first arose,” explains lead author Hui Fang, a PhD student at the College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China. “The key to answer this question is to find early examples of a lichen-like insect and a co-occuring lichen fossil.”

eLife, “Earliest fossil evidence of an insect lichen mimic” at ScienceDaily

Paper. (open access)

Whoever wrote the media release was very, very light on the Darwinblather.

Mind you, claiming that it all happened via endless iterations of natural selection acting on random mutations wears a bit thin when the time Darwinians thought they had has been sharply reduced.

From Phys.org:

“Our findings indicate that a micro-ecosystem consisting of lichens and insects existed 165 million years ago in Northeastern China,” concludes senior author Yongjie Wang, Associated Professor at the College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing. “This adds to our current understanding of the interactions between insects and their surroundings in the Mesozoic Era, and implies that there are many more interesting insect relationships awaiting discovery.”

eLife, “Scientists discover earliest fossil evidence of an insect lichen mimic” at Phys.org

2 Replies to “Insects were mimicking lichens 165 million years ago

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Actually this is one of the rare cases when mutation + selection is sort of plausible. Lacewings have a fractal network of veins (the lace) in their wings. A mutation or epigene that strengthened the veins and lost the membrane would provide the appearance in the picture, and would enable the insect to hide against the lichen.

  2. 2
    martin_r says:

    Polistra “….when mutation + selection is sort of plausible.”

    IS IT SORT OF PLAUSIBLE ????

    Darwinian clowns have infested the whole world (including 21st century science) with the most stupid and most absurd ‘scientific’ theory ever developed…

    What reasonable person can believe that all of the species below arose by random mutations ?

    ALL OF THESE ????

    Stick insect
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB6sHhQ3EcY

    Leaf insect
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjPInsEYDLs

    A snake-mimic catelpillar

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XUSYv7xgPo

    Are Darwinian clowns totally insane ?

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH DARWINIANS?

    I was wondering, when this ‘scientific’ craziness will finally stop …

    IT IS LIKE IN SOME MENTAL HOSPITAL !

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