These glow-in-the-dark cockroaches look exactly like jawas

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No really, look. The resemblance is uncanny. Right down to the little bandolier.

The little bugger on the left is a South American cockroach by the name of Lucihormetica luckae. Pretty wild looking, right? It gets wilder. Stick it under a fluorescent light, and two, eye-like spots (pits in its upper shell, populated with fluorescent bacteria) light up like an X-wing's sublight drive engines.

Bioluminescence is thought to be rarer on land than in the sea, but terrestrial luminescence is also a lot younger. Analyses of organisms like L. luckae and fireflies suggests that glowing insects evolved surprisingly recently, perhaps in response to selective pressures like predation.

According to Discover Magazine:

A recent analysis of these creatures' bioluminescence demonstrates that they and their cousin species glow at the same wavelengths as a toxin-producing beetle that lives in their area, suggesting that the roaches are mimicking a deadly neighbor to avoid getting picked off by predators. However, it may not be predators these roaches need to worry most about: it's habitat destruction. No specimens have been found since the volcano they live on erupted two years ago.


[Via Discover + Grist]