BANGKOK GN - IT has wings lighter than a feather and is one of the most delicate creatures on earth. But this tiny moth can frighten off predators far bigger then itself - with its scary spider-like markings.

The Lygodium Spider Moth knows how to stand up for itself by using intricate patterns that mimic the shape of a spider - deterring potential predators from attacking it. The wings have patterns that make it resemble the eight legs of a spider. The fascinating bug was discovered in Thailand in 2005, and is described in the journal Annals Of The Entomological Society of America.

The moth feeds on ferns, and the researchers think that the creepy spider markings help protect it from predators, Business Insider said.

Researchers have documented previous incidences of moth species mimicking the behaviour of spiders as a way to defend against their predation. But this spider moth species is a dramatic example of how one species can reap benefits from mimicking or looking like another species.

The moth has other unique features to help it in its battle for survival. Its caterpillar-like form makes it resemble beetle larvae.  When the moth reaches adult state it also has armoured segments on its rear similar to those on beetles but unlike anything seen before in a moth, the Featured Creature blog wrote.

Previous research on insects suggests that when prey - like the Lygodium Spider Moth - sense an approaching spider, they stretch out their wings and the predator thinks it has met one of its own species. It will often flee to avoid an aggressive confrontation, the Why Evolution Is True blog said.

So a moth with this pattern might escape being eaten because it either frightens off oncoming predators or flies away while its predator is startled. –GN