eli5 How do some animals know what other animals look like? For example a Caterpillar pretending to be a snake head.

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eli5 How do some animals know what other animals look like? For example a Caterpillar pretending to be a snake head.

In: Biology
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They don’t know. Knowing doesn’t affect your external appearance. In this case, the caterpillars look like snakes because birds and other predators ate the ones that didn’t look very much like snakes, leaving only the ones that looked like snakes.

This only works as long as there’s sufficient variety in how the caterpillars look that there are some that look kind of like snakes and some that don’t look very much like snakes for the predators to go for. All populations include variation between individuals.

It’s not that the caterpillar is “pretending to be a snake head” – caterpillars are incapable of “thought” and act purely on instinct – but rather that a caterpillar that happened to look like the head of a snake had a better chance of surviving and passing on its dna than a similar caterpillar that didn’t look like the head of a snake.

That’s evolution in a nutshell. Survival of the fittest. Those that live to procreate, for whatever reason, survive and those that are less suited to their environment do not.

The mimic octopus is just smart as hell. Its aware of its body, its ability, and what scares the things that eat it, so it mimics those dangerous animals

they dont know, it’s just natural selection. Ones that look tasty get eaten, ones that look scary like a snake get avoided. Only the ones that dont get eaten can breed and produce children.