martedì 7 giugno 2011

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5 Extraordinary Animals with Eyes in the Back of their Heads.

1. Emperor Moths
Moths are the most discovered and well credited masters of producing astonishing replicas of eyes across their delicate wings. The perfection of these eyes is rather remarkable and appears daunting when seen by species out in the wild. Existing in both beautiful and scary variations, these replicas of eyespots vary from simple dark sports to either emphasised larger eyes or perfectly replicated spots. A striking example can be seen in the Emperor Moth.

2. Killer Whale
The eyespots of the Killer Whale are a reserved transition of defence. Instead of defending against killer predators, these big, “cute” eyespots are actually used for protection against injuries and damage caused from panicking prey species. Many attempts of escaping from predators involve aiming/pecking and sufficient damaging the predator’s valuable spots, biding time to escape. These large fake eyes deter anxious prey species from their real eyes lower down in the head, keeping their predatory vision protected.

A similar strategy can be seen in South America’s Oscar’s Cichlid – a victim of predatory piranhas. The clearly defined eye marking on the stem of its tail provides a better chance of escaping when due an attack. The tail is the best area for a fish to flash its decoy eyes but can vary across species. False eyes can be seen splashed across fins, heads and various other parts of the body. This type of defence is known as automimicry or intraspecific mimicry and is an astonishing decoy underwater.

3. Butterfly Fish
Butterfly Fish have the capability to blur the distinction between their heads and tails –resulting in a remarkable marine example of evolving a pair of false eyes. These sit clearly and brightly at the tail end of their bodies, with their real eyes being disguised by a black band that runs across the face. This is a devious trick, preventing predators that hunt from behind from attacking. Predators are left startled whilst the agile, beautiful Butterfly fish swims off in the wrong direction and becomes an unavoidable catch.

4. Moth Caterpillar
Numerous species of birds and mammals favour caterpillars for lunch. They are juicy, an easy catch and packed with nutrition making them a huge target in the food chain. But this caterpillar is more frightening than juicy…

5. Indian Cobra
A highly venomous snake, the Indian Cobra is a much feared predator. With the ability to spit venom and puncture lungs with its sharp fangs you might wonder why the need for eyespots?  Just like any animal, the Indian Cobra is open to attack from behind at any time from those bigger and badder than himself. So when feeling threatened these well-dressed eye spots are reared up into the air, assisted with violent hissing and spitting. The mongoose – the Indian Cobras biggest threat, is often startled by this warning and runs away, leaving their usual spots of attack (at the back of the victim’s necks) untouched.


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