We know what you’re thinking. This is clearly a venomous snake about to lunge at its unsuspecting prey, right? Nope. This gentle soul is actually a caterpillar performing one of the most impressive acts of mimicry on the planet.
Known by the scientific community as Hemeroplanes triptolemus, this creative creature is merely the larval (juvenile) stage of a moth native to Central and South America.
Watch the video below…
In its relaxed state, this creature looks like nothing more than your average caterpillar. When provoked, however, these harmless insects inflate part of their bodies to resemble that of a more intimidating reptile.
We’re dealing with Identify theft here, but we’ve got to give them credit for their ingenuity. It’s all for their own protection. Animals must sometimes pretend to be another species altogether if they wish to survive an encounter with a hungry predator.
How do these caterpillars do it? They’re able to retract their legs and “flare” parts of their body (think Arnold at a body-building competition) to make them larger. When inflated, the patterns on their sides resemble reptilian eyes, making it all the more believable.
For maximum credibility, they’ll even mimic snake-like behavior by lunging or snapping at potential predators.
How’s that for evolution?