The evolution of mimicry fascinates me, and I was instantly smitten. Note the moth's gemlike markings lining the top of the hindwings. Those are the faux spider eyes. Unfortunately, being nighttime, the moth didn't do anything but sit motionless, but they certainly can animate themselves as we shall see.
While these photos are cool, and build a case for the jumping spider mimic theory, the proof is in the locomotion. Exceptional videographers that they are, the Hughes managed an incredible video of the moth in motion on the leaf's surface. Check it out below:
The quick jerky movements of the moth are amazingly similar to that of a jumping spider. So much so that even an experienced observer of natural history could easily be temporarily fooled. Resembling a fiercely predatory spider is good insurance against attack by would-be predators who might think twice about lunging at an animal that might turn the tables on them. The evolutionary fits and spurts that lead to such fabulous mimicry over eons of time is endlessly fascinating.
Thanks as always to Dave and Laura for sharing their work.