Pretend Games


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The first time I saw a spider mimicking an ant I was awestruck (I’ve given you a hint for one of the contests above!). It made me want to learn more about why the spider would go through so much trouble to disguise itself. Even its behaviour mimicked the ant’s! It was one of the first experiments I set up to observe how the spider and the ants they were mimicking interact with each other.
In addition to pouring over books and the internet I started looking outdoors for more ant mimicking spiders and then suddenly I was seeing other spiders and other insects mimicking other insects and objects, and a whole new world emerged.
Go and discover your own mimics and camouflagers and let us know what you find – and who knows, you might discover something which is new to science!

These are some of my favourite video’s of mimicry – the amazing Lyre bird in South Australia mimicking the sound of a camera shutter and of a chainsaw!

See how this this incredible orchid plant dupes wasps into thinking they are mating, while loading them with pollen.

The BBC Nature and Wildlife website has a wonderful compilation of all the animals, plants and insects around the world which use camouflage and mimicry – can you spot any Indian species here?

 

Contest

Camouflage is a kind of mimicry that makes it difficult to spot an animal. Animals look like something in their environment – a twig, a stone, the bark of a tree. Step outdoors and scour your garden, its plants, the leaf litter for insects. When you spot one that looks like it’s trying to blend in with its environment, draw it and describe it in your field diary.


Send us your drawings and notes from your field diary at edu@ncf-india.org for a chance to win a book on Indian butterflies.

Comments welcome!