the masquerade is almost perfect. certain moths of the subfamily arctiinae are marked with a yellow and black pattern. but these day-active insects have wasp waists and their antennae resemble those of wasps. their transparent wings are folded in a wasp-like way. for more than 150 years there has been a plausible explanation for this type of imitation, which is commonly known as mimicry. it says that the moths - just like many hoverflies and other insects - imitate wasps in order to protect themselves from birds and other hostile predators. according to textbook wisdom, these voracious foes have learned from painful experience. they have been stung by wasps and since then have avoided any animal that looks like one. in the scientific journal ecology and evolution, a university of freiburg biologist, prof. dr. michael boppré and his team have now presented an additional hypothesis that goes beyond this traditional view. their interpretation is that, above all, the moths' appearance de...