How do animals arise

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN

With mimicry, living beings imitate other living beings - for example to deceive their enemies or to attract prey.

Hover fly as a wasp

The wasp hover fly is completely harmless. Even so, many birds do not eat it. This is because, with its black and yellow stripes, it can hardly be distinguished from a wasp. Over the course of many generations, she has adapted so well that her camouflage is almost perfect.

Monkfish with worm

The anglerfish is a fish that lies in wait for prey on the ocean floor. If another fish approaches it, it opens its huge mouth in a flash and sucks its prey into it. For this to work, the unsuspecting victim must come very close to the hunter. The anglerfish has made provisions for this: over its mouth it has an appendage that looks like a worm. This "worm" attracts hungry little fish. But instead of finding food, they end up as a meal themselves.

Orchid as an insect

Plants also practice mimicry. The flower of the flywort, for example, looks like an insect - and can imitate the luring scent of female digger wasps so deceptively real that male digger wasps only notice the trick after they have landed on the flower. The pollen from the orchid sticks to the wasp's body and is brought to the next flower by air courier. Pollination by deception - pretty clever!