Threaten Sign    


Lycid Beetle Mimicry

The distasteful Lycid Beetles - family LYCIDAE, model of the Lycid Beetle mimicry rings.
Lycid Beetles are elongated beetles and may be found on flowers or on plant surfaces. Some species adults are nectar-feeders, some are not feed at all. Their head is usually triangular in shape. Antennae are medium long and thick.
The brick-red and black colours of of Lycid Beetle are a warning to predators that the beetle is highly toxic and distasteful. Many other insects including moths, flies, wasps and other beetles, mimic its colours. Some of these are also toxic which enhance the warning signal. But some are not toxic nor distasteful, they simply gain the same benefit by fraud. This could be the second most popular visual warning signal in the insects world, next to the yellow and black strips of wasps and bees. 

Lycid-mimicking Longicorn Beetle - family CERAMBYCIDAE
This Longicorn Beetle mimic the Lycid Beetle, with the typical brick-red colour on its front wings. The tips of the wings have the black pattern make the shape the same as Lycid wings.

Lycid-mimicking Soldier Beetle - family CANTHARIDAE
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This Solder Beetle has its abdomen with black and yellow strips, when fly, mimics a wasp. Its forewings cover are brick-red in colour, which mimics a Lycid beetle. Most predators will avoid this two groups of insects. Some Soldier Beetles are known distasteful too. So the example may be a Mullerian mimicry. In Mullerian mimicry, both the model and the mimic are unpalatable  and they share warning colors or patterns to evade predation.

Lycid-mimicking Belid Weevil - family BELIDAE
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We found this beetle alone on a young Acacia tree. It was slow moving, did not even fly away when we came very close. It mimics the Lycid Beetle with the brick-red and black colour. 

Lycid-mimicking Pollen Beetle - Family Oedemeridae 
This beetle look like a Lycid Beetle but it is in family Oedemeridae.  This beetle mimic the Lycid Beetle to gain some protections. 

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Last updated: February 07, 2009.