One day, Cabras spotted a beetle. It looked a lot like a beetle that she already knew. At first, she was fooled. Then she looked more closely. This beetle was a new species, but it had warning colors like the beetle she knew. It was a mimic!
Sometimes, a beetle will mimic another. Doing so helps its chances to survive. Predators see the beetle’s warning colors as a sign of danger. They get scared off.
Here are a few examples of beetles Cabras saw during her work.
The mimics look like their models.
This is one of the fake beetles Cabras used in her research.
Testing a Theory
Cabras began to wonder if she was the only one to be fooled by this mimic. She tried an experiment. She made fake beetles out of clay. She gave them warning colors. She waited to see if predators would attack.
If the predator knew the warning colors, it did not attack. But, if the predator did not know the warning colors, it did. These predators had not yet learned to stay away.
In Mindanao, there could be many new species to discover.
Cabras has many more questions about the island’s beetles and their mimics. She hopes to learn more.