Glowing Cockroach Mimics Toxic Beetle
Roach's bioluminescence tricks predators into thinking it's distasteful.
Found in rain forests around an active volcano in Ecuador, the inch-long (2.5-centimeter-long) cockroach is unique for a few reasons, scientists say.
For one thing, while many life-forms have evolved their own flashiness, most are found in the deep-sea—making bioluminescence a relatively rare trait on land. But L. luckae is particularly rare, in that it glows to mimic another insect.
Other uses of bioluminescence in the insect world, as in the case of the common firefly, are more attuned to attracting mates—lighting up to find love in the dark simply saves time.
Unfortunately, it also makes one much more visible to predators.
"Bioluminescence is like any evolutionary tool—there is no single use for it. It can attract, deter, or even be