Feature Journal

Batesian Mimicry

13 July 2012
In Batesian mimicry, a potential prey mimics another insect which it’s predators would typically avoid. These “mimic models” could be unpalatable, or even aggressive so that a hungry predator that had experience with them before would avoid wasting time with such an unpleasant meal again.

We came across what looked like a tiger beetle, which looked like a forest ant initially, while some parts looked like a katydid. Upon closer observation, it was indeed a katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) that was mimicking a flightless tiger beetle (Tricondyla sp.). The tiger beetle is typically an aggressive critter, and not an easy prey to catch.

    Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1738
  1. First look of Condylodera tricondyloides. Initially thought to be a tiger beetle mimicking a forest ant.

  2. Flightless Tiger Beetle (Tricondyla sp.) - DSC_3083
  3. Side view of the actual tiger beetle (Tricondyla sp.)

  4. Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1741
  5. Higher view. The abdomen does indeed look like that of an ant!

  6. Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1743
  7. Top view. The bulging eyes are typical of tiger beetles.

  8. Flightless Tiger Beetle (Tricondyla sp.) - DSC_3088
  9. Top view of the actual tiger beetle (Tricondyla sp.)

  10. Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1751
  11. Front view close up. The fierce looking mandibles of a tiger beetle were missing, not a tiger beetle after all!

  12. Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1762
  13. Another close up of the mandibles

  14. Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1766
  15. Side view close up.

  16. Tiger Beetle-Mimic Katydid (Condylodera tricondyloides) - DSC_1773
  17. Final pic of the magnificent mimic

  18. DSC_1582
  19. A pair of mating beetles. I hadn’t had a good chance to take a decent pic of this yet

  20. DSC_1585
  21. Full body view of the couple

  22. Sweat Bee (Amegilla sp.?) - DSC_1588
  23. Sleeping sweat bee (Amegilla sp.)

  24. Sweat Bee (Amegilla sp.?) - DSC_1595
  25. It was fidgeting around and even wiping its eyes

  26. Sweat Bee (Amegilla sp.?) - DSC_1597
  27. Often lifted itself, clinging onto the branch only by it’s mandibles

  28. Sweat Bee (Amegilla sp.?) - DSC_1603
  29. Finally settled down for a nice shot

  30. Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) - DSC_1620
  31. Sleeping Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana)

  32. Leaf-Mimic Katydid (Chondroderella borneensis) - DSC_1622
  33. This katydid was standing upright when we found it. As we approached, it sensed our presence and flattened it’s body on the leaf!

  34. Leaf-Mimic Katydid (Chondroderella borneensis) - DSC_1625
  35. Close up on the head

  36. Leaf-Mimic Katydid (Chondroderella borneensis) - DSC_1626
  37. Slightly angled view

  38. DSC_1629
  39. Unidentified beetle

  40. DSC_1633
  41. Top view of the beetle

  42. DSC_1652
  43. Keith found this beautiful shield bug (?)

  44. DSC_1663
  45. View from the side reveals a metallic green underneath

  46. DSC_1667
  47. Brilliant colours from the front!

  48. Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_1672
  49. One of the many Huntsman Spiders (Heteropoda sp.) running around on the leaf litter

  50. Paraplectana sp. - DSC_1681
  51. Beautiful spider, this is likely to be a Paraplectana that is new to science. It belongs to the same genus as the ladybird-mimicking spiders.

  52. Paraplectana sp. - DSC_1690
  53. Dangling on it’s web

  54. Paraplectana sp. - DSC_1694
  55. Climbs onto a leaf after sensing our presence

  56. Trilobite Beetle (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1720
  57. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus ruficollis). View my checklist of trilobite beetles.

  58. Trilobite Beetle (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1728
  59. Another close up on the head

  60. Trilobite Beetles (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1800
  61. Found these 2 cute ones together, but not sure if they were of the same species

  62. Trilobite Beetles (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1811
  63. Ok, not fated to be together, bye bye!!

  64. Trilobite Beetle (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1820
  65. Back-lit trilobite beetle

  66. Trilobite Beetle (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1823
  67. These nocturnal creatures couldn’t keep still

  68. Trilobite Beetle (Platerodrilus ruficollis) - DSC_1826
  69. Final shot before we called it a night

The complete album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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