When someone says "You look like sh*t", maybe it's a complement. At least that's what some critters think.
What better way to hide from predator and prey. No one is going to eat you if they think you're a turd! These mimics typically rest on a leaf during the day. This mimicry is found in various orders of insects and spiders.
I have to admit that I find myself poking at bird poop these days. Sometimes it is exactly what it looks like, but other times it is something far more interesting. Here are a few from my photo collection.
This Bolas spider (Mastophora cornigera) is one of my favorite poop mimics. Not only is it cool looking, but it captures prey (moths) by swinging a line with a sticky ball at the end scented like a female moth.
Another poop mimic is the olive-shaded bird-dropping moth (Ponometia candefacta). This is only one of a whole subfamily of bird-dropping moths.
This is an anise swallowtail (Papillo zelicaon) larva.
Anise swallowtail - Papillo zelicaonFamily Papilionidae - Swallowtails This caterpillar of Western giant swallowtail (Papilio rumiko) not only looks like bird poop, but also is said to look like the head of a snake from head on.
Western giant swallowtail - Papilio rumikoWestern giant swallowtail - Papilio rumiko A Long Beach backyard 10/15/2015 Western giant swallowtail - Papilio rumikoWestern giant swallowtail - Papilio rumiko A Long Beach backyard 10/15/2015
Beetle larva, particularly that of leaf beetles, can also have this effect. Here is an example of the Three-lined Potato Beetle (Lema daturaphila).
So the next time you see bird droppings, look again and you might just be lucky enough to find something really cool.