Wow! Awesome! It was even in the New York Times! Evolution, baby! What can't it do?!
Well, it didn't do that, but it did produce a human mind capable of settling down after viewing something awesome and figuring out what we're really looking at:
Returning to the viral ant-winged photo, it would appear that the fly is supinating its wings (twisting the wing 90° and pressing forwards to display patterns), which can occur both when a species is pretending they’re a threatening spider as well as in species with courtship wing displays, which doesn’t help us decide what’s going on — is there a female just off camera that’s being courted, or is the fly threatened by the giant camera lens in its face? However, if you look closely at the photo you can see that the middle and hind legs are actually curled up under the body and the fore legs are not resting in a natural position at all — they look more like a ballerina en pointe, with the last leg segments curled and with the tops of the “feet” (the tarsomeres) resting on the surface of the substrate — which leads me to believe the fly in the photo may be dead, or at least heavily compromised, and not actively displaying its wings at all!So what's really awesome is the entomology grad student Morgan D. Jackson and not the fruit fly... or The New York Times.
Putting everything together, it leads me to believe we may be choosing to see ants where they don’t actually exist.
Or would you have been happier if the story of a fruit fly with ant wings had really been true?