November 10, 2013

"This is unbelievable, but the fruit fly G tridens has somehow evolved to have what looks like pictures of ants on its wings."

"Seriously, its transparent wings have an ant design on them complete with 'six legs, two antennae, a head, thorax and tapered abdomen.' It's nature's evolutionary art painted on a fly's wings."



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!

Putting everything together, it leads me to believe we may be choosing to see ants where they don’t actually exist.
So what's really awesome is the entomology grad student Morgan D. Jackson and not the fruit fly... or The New York Times.

Or would you have been happier if the story of a fruit fly with ant wings had really been true?

23 comments:

betamax3000 said...

Humans Will Evolve to Have Pictures of Snakes and Skulls on their Arm To Scare off Strangers. For the Time Being, Tattoos Accomplish This.

betamax3000 said...

Tattoos of Spiders on the Face are a Sign of Things to Come. And to Discreetly Cross to the Other Side of the Street.

betamax3000 said...

The Tattoos Preferred By Goths Warn Away the Evil Spirits. And Basic Sensibility. What, You Don't Like Bauhaus?

Fritz said...

"So what's really awesome is the entomology grad student Morgan D. Jackson and not the fruit fly..."

If he were so awesome, he'd be designing a study to test the hypothesis.

betamax3000 said...

The Perpetually Bullied In Urban Areas Will Evolve to Have Tattoos That Help Them Blend in With Their Surroundings. Ankles Full of Pigeons, Say, or a Bus Stop Sign on the Face.

When the Guy with Tattoos of Spiders on the Face Waits for the Bus at the Guy with the Bus Stop Sign on the Face: Uncomfortable. Stalemate.

betamax3000 said...

Females Will Evolve to Have NFL Logo Tattoos on the Small of Their Backs to Entice the Other Sex. The Women Who Develop the Redskins Logo Will Be Outcasts. No One Said Evolution Was Fair.

lemondog said...

Radioactive mutants?

betamax3000 said...

Men With Tattoos of Flies and Mites on Their Genitalia Are to Be Avoided. Obviously. Women With Such Tattoos Will Find Many Men Who Won't Pay Any Attention or Worry to Such Trivia. Again: No One Said Evolution Was Fair.

betamax3000 said...

Gang Affiliations Will Be Decided By the Gang Tattoos They Grow. Black Gangsters Who Grow White Supremacy Tattoos Will Have a Harder Life. Of Course, Their Pimp Hand Will Develop to Become Even Stronger to Compensate.

El Pollo Raylan said...

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:

The author of the second linked article poo-poos the notion that they look like ants. "they really don't, people."

New flash: some flies have bad art like bad tattoos and they are the evolutionary losers.

betamax3000 said...

The Physically Unattractive Will Develop Facial Tattoos Depicting More Pleasing Features. Make-Up Manufacturers Had Better Be Prepared.

iowan2 said...

This is not evolution. Its natural selection.

betamax3000 said...

Flat-Chested Women Will Grow tattoos of Bigger Breasts. An Optical Illusion For Sure, But Whatever Works...

betamax3000 said...

I Am No Longer Sure in How Far to Go in the 'New Tone' Era of Comments. So Far I Just Listen to the Voice in My Head That Says "Maybe We Should Stop Now." The Other Voices Get Upset at this Particular Voice: They Are Just Getting Started.

Marc said...

I wish all the Times journalists would be as assiduous in updating their pieces as Andrew Revkin has been!

iowan2 said...

This is not evolution. Its natural selection.

EDH said...

Maybe this explains the appearance of Chairman Mao on Mike Tyson's arm.

God knows I've been trying to figure that one out for some time.

Sam L. said...

Best Set Of Comments I've Ever Seen! Sorry I Can't Do More; The Flesh Is Willing, But The Fly Is Weak.

Bob R said...

This is the NYT version of seeing the face of the Virgin Mary in a tortilla.

chrisnavin.com said...

If w'ere constantly evolving it's probably better than some people constantly revolting.

n.n said...

iowan2:

Natural selection is a principle of evolution. Specifically, evolution is a chaotic process, and natural selection is a sink, one of many.

Lem said...

Silence of the Moth.

"If you see closely on the moth that’s in front of Foster’s lips you will notice a skull on its back, but what you see is actually 7 naked woman’s bodies that are shaping a human skull together."

Jonathan Card said...

I'm not sure I understand how figuring out that the fly is dead means that it isn't meant to appear to be ants or spiders or whatever. I figured out it was dead from the giant needle shoved through it in most of the pictures.