Threaten Sign    


Feigning Death Behaviours

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We found that Bladder Cicada uses the 'play dead' trick to escape from predators. On a early summer day we found a male Bladder Cicada singing on a tree on a suburban street. We got close to take some pictures. May be we came too close, the cicada dropped itself onto the ground. It just lying on ground without any motion, just like dead. We used a small stick to disturb it and there was no response at all. We stopped the distortion, just wait and see. About a minute later, the cicada rolled back on foot and slowly walk away.

The 'play dead' trick is quite common in the insects world. We saw at least some bugs, stick insects and caterpillars will do this when facing with danger. This trick sometimes work because some predators do not eat dead or motionless prey. For those insects with camouflage pattern may work even better. The insect drops onto a new background and stays still, the predator may not found it again.

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When disturbed, the weevil dropped on the ground and play dead. We put it on hand and it slowly walked back to the leaf. 

Red Green Spined Shield Bug
Morna florens, body length 10mm 
This is one of the rear insect that we found in mid-winter. This little green bug was hiding between the pine leaves. We found few of them easily on the same pine tree in Wishart bushland. The bugs are green colour with red spots on their head and back. They have the sharp spiny shoulder. When disturbed, the bug drops onto the ground and play dead. So we took  its bottom picture easily. Its bottom is even more colourful, with green, orange, yellow and white patterns. After a while, it quickly moved away and hided under the dry leaf.
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Last updated: November 07, 2006.