Owl butterflies (genus: Caligo) have huge eyespots 👀 that resemble the eyes of an owl. They are found in Mexico, Central and South America.
Owl butterflies exhibit Batesian mimicry, where harmless species evolve to imitate the warning signals of harmful (model) species. The mimic species gains protection because predators mistake it for the model species and leave it alone.
A study in 2015 at the University of Jyväskylä showed that the eyespots of the owl butterfly were as effective at scaring the birds as real eyes of owls. The birds flew away or chirped warning calls when shown images of either.
It's tons of types Tuesday as we continue talking about Lithops every day this week with a new topic each day !
Lithops (L.) are incredible, specialist mimicry plants with 40+ species and 200+ subspecies! Today we're going to briefly discuss 10 of those species! L. Bromfieldii grow near the northern Cape of South Africa in pockets of red quartz. L. Dorotheae are found near Pofadder, South Africa, in feldspar rock. L. Fulviceps are found in 30 unique sub-populations on limestone slopes across the deserts of southern Namibia. L. Hallii is one of the most variable, found about 30 miles South of Prieska, South Africa in calcrete and jaspilite. L. Karasmontana is found around the South West Great Karasberg area of Namibia in pockets of quartzite and pegmatite that the species imitates so well it's nearly impossible to distinguish from the surrounding habitat until the daisy-like blooms begin to pop up in fall. L. Meyeri is localized to a tiny area of Richtersveld, South Africa and is found exclusively growing in the quartz plains where the pebbles protect the plants, providing camouflage and reflecting light and heat away from the sensitive Lithops. L. Pseudotruncatella is found across a huge area from the high plains of the Khomas plateau in Namibia to the far Eros mountains in pockets of mica schist. L. Schwantesii is found growing on calcite stones south of Helmeringhausen, Namibia. L. Terricolor is the most widely distributed species in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, found growing prolifically on shale and sandstone. L. Werneri has only one population left in the wild with a total extent of less than 1 square KM! This species is limited to a tiny patch of weathered gravel in the Erongo Mountains of Namibia and is assessed as a highly vulnerable species! Unfortunately in the 1950s, several hundred plants were collected for sale illegally by irresponsible, unchecked European pioneers and the species was considered to be extinct in the wild for over half a century. In 2012 thanks to some astounding, worldwide, cooperative conservation efforts, the species was successfully re-introduced to it's original site by the Namibian conservation departement!