Variegation is mimicry?

The suggestion has just been published that leaf variegation may have evolved as a defence mechanism against being eaten. Variegated leaves look like they’ve already been attacked, so they’re avoided by pests. Working on an Ecuadorian rainforest floor aroid, researchers found that

While moths infested almost 8% of green leaves, they infested 1.6% of variegated ones and just 0.4% of those painted to look like they were variegated.

Damn, another paper to read. This one is in Evolutionary Biology.

There are lots of variegated taros. Would it help to scatter a few around a field, I wonder? Or even to invest in some correction fluid…

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