Table of Contents (click to expand) Animals that use mimicry What is Batesian mimicry? What is Mullerian mimicry? Why do animals imitate: Objectives and advantages Imitation is defined as the close resemblance of an organism to another or to natural objects among its habitats.
This skill helps the animal to blend in, hunt, and survive!
What comes to mind when you see the word mimicry?
But did you know that mimicry is also one of nature’s most fascinating concepts?
Animals and plants also imitate certain characteristics of other animals and the world around them.
The Mimic Octopus Can Mimic Other Sea Creatures (Photo Credit: Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock) One can observe mimicry in animals if they exhibit physical or behavioral characteristics of another species, or even aspects of the environment in which the animal is usually found.
The simple reason why this occurs naturally in animals is that it provides a survival advantage.
However, they do not imitate things or other species on purpose.
Animals that use mimicry If you’ve ever gone hiking in nature, you’ve probably been within a few inches of bat insects.
However, you’ve probably never spotted them because they look so much like the bark they’re resting on.
However, this exact characteristic gives them a huge advantage for survival.
Like us, other predators cannot see the presence of such an animal, which prevents them from killing them in the act of predation.
A leaf bug perfectly blends in with the vegetation (Photo Credit: Matee Nuserm/Shutterstock) But that’s not all!
Sometimes animals also mimic other animals to avoid being eaten by larger predators.
They also mimic external features, such as color and shape, to lure animals towards them.
You will even find a number of different animals imitating other species in their kind to benefit from their particular characteristics.
An excellent example is the Viceroy butterfly, which mimics the monarch butterfly in both its color and wing pattern.
The monarch butterfly is toxic, so the Viceroy butterfly is similarly not eaten by predators due to the similarity in its wing pattern to monarchs!
Similarly, a Sesia crabroniformis butterfly mimics the dangerous stinging wasp Vespa crabro to avoid becoming prey.
One can conclude that these plants and animals have evolved these methods of deception and deception over long periods of time, all of which improve their chances of survival!
Also read: Why do certain animal colors keep them safe? What is Batesian Mimicry?
Let’s try to understand this concept through an example.
From these, only B has toxic chemistry in the form of stings, spines or other characteristics that are dangerous to predators.
On the other hand, A and C only resemble B, but because of previous unpleasant experience with B, the predator will avoid all organisms A, B and C, because they are so similar.
This is known as Batesian mimicry.
Similar Color Patterns in Viceroy and Monarch Butterflies (Photo Credit: Maquiladora/Shutterstock) This type of mimicry is named after Henry Walter Bates, a British scientist who pioneered the observation of mimicry patterns in Amazonian butterflies.
Therefore, the example mentioned above with the Viceroy butterfly imitating the Monarch butterfly fits well into this category.
One can also observe batesian mimicry in milk snakes that have the same body color as venomous coral snakes.
Also read: How do plants defend themselves? What is Mullerian mimicry?
This type of mimicry is only slightly different from Batesian mimicry.
A group of animals is said to exhibit Mullerian mimicry if they produce the same warning signs to indicate that they are unpalatable or dangerous.
However, in this type of imitation, it is difficult to understand who imitates who, as both animals are toxic, but they produce an equal share of the advantages for their collective survival.
A female wasp that looks like a bee (Photo Credit: Pavel Krasensky/Shutterstock) As such, it can be said that Mullerian mimics display similar warning systems.
These may even be bright color patterns on the animal’s body that advertise the animal as a nuisance or toxic to predators.
Once the predator has had a bad experience with an animal that shows such a pattern, it will avoid all similar patterns in the future.
Some notable examples of animals that rely on this type of mimicry are bees, yellow jackets and wasps, which are all stinging insects and have the same black and yellow external coloration.
Why Animals Mimic: Purposes and Advantages Mimicry, like many other phenomena in plant and animal biology, is attributed to evolutionary forces.
Therefore, mimicry helps them avoid these situations and promotes survival.
Camouflage of leaf insects among plants and imitation of a poisonous animal by a non-poisonous animal are both effective methods of survival.
Moreover, some animals also use this phenomenon to attract animals and meet their nutritional demands.
A fascinating example is that of the Orchid Mantis; unlike a regular green mantis, this variety displays delicate shades of purple or pink.
This appearance helps it fool the insects that come to pollinate the orchids, but instead they end up being prey!
Unlike the comedians you watch on TV, animal impersonators survive, not entertain.
This mimic is not only spectacular, but also very devious!
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Imitation of animals.
Signals, signals and the nature of mimicry.
The Royal Society.Batesian Mimicry – an OVERVIEW | ScienceDirect topics.
ScienceDirectChapter 28: The most spectacular Batesian mimicry.
University of Florida Share this articleSuggested readingFuzz: When Nature Breaks LawsCheck on AmazonZoology: The Secret World of AnimalsCheck on AmazonA World on Wings: The Global Odyssey of Migratory BirdsCheck on AmazonWas this article helpful?YesNo
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