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Eye-spot (mimicry) facts for kids

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Moth Automeris io shows startle display on its rear wings
Serval from back
A serval from behind, with ocelli on the back of its ears. Kits can see their mother as she moves in the long grass

An eye-spot (or ocellus) is an eye-like marking on the body of an animal. They are found on butterflies, reptiles, felids, birds and fish.

Eye-spots may be a form of mimicry: the spot looks like the eye of a larger animal. Its function may be to draw a predator's attention away from the most vulnerable body parts; or to look like an unpleasant or dangerous animal.

In larger animals, eyespots may play a role in intraspecies communication or courtship – the best-known example is probably the eyespots on a peacock's display feathers.

There is evidence that eyespots in butterflies are anti-predator defences. Some are deimatic displays to distract, startle or scare off predators, or at least to deflect attacks away from vital body parts. Butterfly eyespots may also play a role in mate recognition and sexual selection, like the eyespots on larger organisms.

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Eye-spot (mimicry) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.