Natural-born con artists and counterfeiters

Martial Depczynski, Monica Gagliano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Deception is ubiquitous in plant and animal kingdoms and is widely thought to provide selective advantages to the individual and evolutionary success to the species. Mimicry, a form of deception whereby an individual imitates their model to advantage by closely resembling their behavior or appearance, is particularly well documented and represented by the peripheral eyespots seen on the wings of many butterfly species. The significance of butterfly eyespots has been convincingly demonstrated to serve as an anti-predatory function either by imitation of a predator's own dangerous enemies (intimidation hypothesis) or by deflecting predator strikes toward less-vital parts of the body (deflection hypothesis). A convincing and compelling explanation in butterflies, the functional role of eyespots as anti-predatory devices has become a widely held and firmly entrenched belief that has been freely adopted into other systems. Here we comment on a recent paper that demonstrates a vastly different role for eyespots, that of intra-specific male-male competition, and make the point that even long-held beliefs need to be tested and challenged under different contexts if we are not to be deceived ourselves. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e24586-1 - e24586-3
JournalCommunicative & Integrative Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural-born con artists and counterfeiters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this