Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re a male Lissopimpla excelsa wasp in the prime of your reproductive life. You’ve been buzzing about over the local Australian flora for the better part of the morning looking to make contact with a female who’s “a bit of a go-er” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more). […]
If you’ve studied natural history for very long, you’ve likely by now noticed that a wide variety of plants and animals have the appearance of things much different than what they themselves actually are; caterpillars that look like snakes or hoverflies that look like bees, for example. While it’s fairly obvious that such deceptive traits would be valuable for a range of reasons, how did they come about in the first place? And for that matter, what do such deceptions mean in regard to evolution and adaptation?