Lichen-Like

In cerrado, one of the most striking features of the vegetation is the dense covering of lichens on the trunks and larger branches of the diminutive trees within the system. This patchwork of pale greens makes for a great background for photographing ants. Below are two workers of one of my favorite cerrado species, Cephalotes borgmeieri, taking a moment to share some food.

Cephalotes borgmeieri
Cephalotes borgmeieri workers engaging in trophallaxis

More significant than the benefits to the camera-toting myrmecologist, though, is that the lichen cover has had strong evolutionary implications for the native fauna.

Weevil mimic
Weevil

Lichen mimics are both abundant and diverse in the cerrado, and I tried to snap a quick shot whenever I encountered a new one. Unfortunately, I have not put names to these animals, but I think you’ll agree that the taxonomic diversity is quite amazing. Whereas some no doubt gain protective benefits from being green and crusty, others, like the spider, may be better suited to surprise potential prey. Scroll down to see the complete bunch that I managed to get decent shots of (others were too good at avoiding my camera lens). Some clearly did a better job than others in finding their model!

Mantid mimic
Mantid nymph
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Psocopteran (maybe)
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Spider
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Tree frog
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Katydid nymph
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Hemipteran nymph
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Mantid
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Katydid

4 thoughts on “Lichen-Like”

  1. Absolutely amazing! I guess it takes ‘trained’ eyes to spot them.

    But i wonder whether the katidids sit on the tree trunk all the time. The other insects/non-insect probably all permanently associated with the trees.

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