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Thomas Hossie
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How do we know eyespots mimic eyes?
Canadian tiger swallowtail ( Papilio canadensis ) caterpillar in its defensive posture. Many animals possess large, conspicuous eye-like markings, and the longstanding claim by naturalists is that these spots mimic eyes. The implication that follows is that...

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New blog post about our recent PNAS paper "Body size affect the evolution of eyespots in caterpillars"

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Body size affects the evolution of eyespots in caterpillars
Eyespots are an incredibly widespread strategy used by animals to protect themselves from predators. There are examples from all over the world, and from many different animal groups. Although they are well-known from the wings of butterflies and moths they...

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Preface to my work on caterpillar eyespots
The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best—and therefore never scrutinize or question. — Stephen Jay Gould Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin (1997), 57. Ask any naturalist and they’ll tell you, eyespots protect prey a...

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Another cool caterpillar from Central America:

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Moss' account of another snake-mimic: Madoryx plutonius
In my last post, I shared Moss' description of snake-mimicry in Hemeroplanes triptolemus  caterpillars. In the same publication - The Sphingidae of Para, Brazil - he describes another spectacular caterpillar he encountered - Madoryx plutonius (he refers to ...

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New post on Hemeroplanes caterpillars and their amazing defensive behaviours.

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Moss' account of Hemerplanes larvae in Para
When you are starting to dig through the literature for a new research topic, i t is often very rewarding to go back and actually read the earliest accounts you can find - especially for biologists . This is because early naturalists wrote beautifully and o...
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