Many species of insect, when they feel threatened by a potential predator, will display a behaviour known as thanatosis (or 'playing dead'). The insect will often fall to the ground and tuck in any protruding legs or antennae. The insect will remain like this for some time, even when prodded or poked by the predator. Some time after the predator has lost interest the insect will start moving again and make its escape.

Thanatosis is displayed by many animals (including some mammals and reptiles) and, amongst the insects, it is commonly found among the beetles - ladybirds are particularly good at 'playing dead'.

A photograph of an adult Click beetle

A photograph of an adult Click beetle - many Click beetles display thanatosis when threatened.
Photograph by Noodle Snacks licensed under Creative Commons.

Other names for (or types of) Thanatosis include:

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