Up is down, down is up, and moths are butterflies

Adam Lazarus sends in an utterly pedestrian photo of a Japanese moth resting on a wall:


But wait! Have a closer look:



A predatory bird aiming at an apparent moth body will find little more than the empty space between the butterfly’s hindwings, giving our upside-down trickster a chance to escape.

As best I can tell this is a common mapwing, Cyrestis thyodamas. I’m not a Lepidopterist though, so take this ID with a grain of salt.

16 thoughts on “Up is down, down is up, and moths are butterflies”

  1. I’d agree with the ID – but that’s awesome! Had no idea about this behavior. I’d say things that prey on moths are geared towards going for the head – so in this instance they would just get the tails of the butterfly while its head was protected in the “abdomen” space.

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  3. That.. is totally cool. Impressions at first were that the tails in the hindwings were mimicking antennae, which is the norm for ‘false head’ mimics, but now I am thinking the tails along with one of the wing border markings are mimicking the spread front legs of the ‘moth’. Totalllly cooool.

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  7. That’s amazing!

    I’ve seen pictures of those butterflies somewhere, but this one just put a whole new spin on things

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