SPECIES: Aga­ly­ch­nis cal­lidryas

MY EYES HAVE THE PER­FECT CLOAK OF IN­VIS­I­BIL­ITY

iD magazine - - Nature -

The glow­ing red eyes of Aga­ly­ch­nis cal­lidryas are yet an­other of na­ture’s true strokes of ge­nius: This strik­ing col­oration de­ters po­ten­tial preda­tors from pur­su­ing the de­fense­less jun­gle dweller. The mes­sage ( which in no way cor­re­sponds with the truth): Watch out— I am poi­sonous! And lest prey an­i­mals espy th­ese lu­mi­nous orbs and take flight, Mother Na­ture has dipped into her bag of tricks yet again: In ad­di­tion to the con­ven­tional eye­lid, each eye has a thin mem­brane that con­ceals the dis­tinc­tive red color of the eyes but per­mits enough vis­i­bil­ity for the an­i­mal to at­tack its prey. It’s a per­fect cam­ou­flage that Aga­ly­ch­nis cal­lidryas could not live with­out, es­pe­cially since it’s se­verely near­sighted and can only see sharply for a dis­tance of 15 cen­time­ters. And that’s only when it turns its head in the di­rec­tion of the ob­ject, be­cause its eyes are fi xed in place.

IN AT­TACK MODE Since po­ten­tial prey can spot its bright red eyes from afar, Aga­ly­ch­nis cal­lidryas veils them with a pro­tec­tive mem­bra­nous cur­tain that does not ob­struct its own vi­sion.

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