Fly with ant-mimic wings

Why Evolution Is True

Several readers have called my attention to yet another amazing case of mimicry, this time in a tephritid fly (the “true” fruit flies). Most people became alerted to this by a semi-viral tw**t by Ziya Tong, which notes that “Goniurellia tridens is a 3-in-1 insect,” and that the photo below was taken by Peter Roosenschoon in Dubai. Roosenschoon is a conservation officer at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

Those aren’t ants bedecking the fly’s wings; they’re the normal wing markings of this species. But why would a fly have antlike markings on its wing? [UPDATE: Note comments at bottom where an ant expert and two others (including Matthew) think that these are spiderlike markings.  I’m coming around to that point of view.]

The issue is discussed in a New York Times‘s “Dot Earth” column by Andrew Revkin, which refers back to the original article in the…

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