An exellent post on the Limp Cobra, tackling quite a deep issue.
Indeed, it’s all important to bear in mind how the insect still, the effectiveness of a fly, as far as I understood anything at all, is not directly related to its ressemblance to the natural. Wyatt argues that the fly takes not in spite of its difference to the actual insect but because of it. As a distorted version, it sticks out, and gets attention.
Now obviously you want your fly to present the correct triggers, and those come from the natural. but how do you select the correct ones? That’s where the newbie like me is grateful for centuries of efforts and selection of the good elements. That’s why you start making imitating imitations and not insects. Quite like in art, where you learn more by studying paintings than looking at apples.
Still, Marc is perfectly right, if you never look at those apples, you’re doomed to crappy painting. But in my book, directly trying to imitate the natural is quite advanced fly ting.