How to ward off hungry birds if you’re a tasty caterpillar? Try to look like something really distasteful: bird poop. Some caterpillars are masters of disguise, fine-tuning their poo mimicry with a grab bag of tricks—using color, pattern, choice of resting place, and, sometimes, contorting their bodies to match the squiggly shape of bird droppings. In a paper published online this month in Animal Behaviour, scientists used artificial edible caterpillars created from pastry dough to see if a bent shape made birds less likely to gobble them up.

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