Insects That Mimic Lichens

News

Palaeontologists have discovered the earliest known evidence of lichen-mimicking insects. Lichens, which are formed by a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae, sometimes have a plant-like appearance. Many modern insects and animals take on a lichen-like look to hide from their predators. Research now reveals that the Jurassic moth lacewing mimicked the fossil lichen Daohugouthallus to help conceal itself from predators. This interaction predates modern lichen insect associations by 165 million years. The discovery suggests that during the mid Mesozoic period, a micro ecosystem of lichens existed in north-eastern China.

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