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Sometimes, Mother Nature can be a dirty liar. Moths pretend to be dangerous spiders, antelopes deceive their mates, and carnivorous plants mimic harmless flowers to attract prey. There is astounding diversity in the deceptive strategies of plants and animals. But, as it turns out, many of these clever critters have a single origin: Australia. Down under, both the number of deceptive species and the variety of their behavioral strategies are disproportionately large.Take orchids, for instance. Orchids can be tricky plants; instead of offering up a delicious slurp of nectar, some species lure in unsuspecting male pollinators bymimicking female insects looking for a mate. And while Australia is home to only about five percent of the world’s orchid diversity, more than half of the known sexually deceptive orchid species on Earth evolved there.

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