Endless forms most hidden: katydids that masquerade as moss

Kikuchi, David W., Kattan, Gustavo H., Murcia, Carolin and Montealegre-Z, Fernando (2017) Endless forms most hidden: katydids that masquerade as moss. Ecology, 98 (9). pp. 2479-2481. ISSN 0012-9658

Montealegre-Z et al_Manuscript_Ecology.pdf
Montealegre-Z et al_Manuscript_Ecology.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


In the cloud forests of the central range of the Colombian Andes, we discovered a species of katydid (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) that imitates mosses to an uncanny degree and is exceedingly difficult to detect. The camouflage exhibited by this particular katydid seems quite specific. We discuss the evolutionary consequences of this sort of specialization. Selection to maintain effective disguises can result in reproductive isolation between populations specialized for different microhabitats, which makes it reasonable to speculate that camouflage may increasing diversification rates. Camouflage could also come at the price of elevated extinction risk. This possibility must be considered because although antipredator defenses are often thought of as leading to “escape-and-radiate” dynamics where diversification follows innovation that allows expansion into new niches, recent work has shown unexpected extinction risk associated with some antipredator adaptations. Highly specialized camouflage would seem an ambiguous case because of its obvious benefits, but also potential costs such as inhabiting habitats with low carrying capacities, vulnerability to predators at high densities if predators form search images, or metabolic trade-offs with thermoregulation. Groups such as the Tettigoniidae provide a tantalizing opportunity for their exceptional diversity, wide geographic distribution, and striking array of disguises suggest that many independent evolutionary experiments have already taken place.

Keywords:camouflage, plant-insect interactions, Moss, Bushcricket, bmjdoi
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
C Biological Sciences > C181 Biodiversity
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
ID Code:26891
Deposited On:02 Apr 2017 18:56

Repository Staff Only: item control page