Supergene controls butterfly mimicry - by Nature Video

Supergene controls butterfly mimicry - by Nature Video


Mim-ic-ry. ( 1. The practice or act of copying. 2. Biology-When one organism resembles another for protection, or to conceal itself in the environment.

Batesian MimicryEdit

A harmless, palatable organism forms a resemblance to a dangerous or noxious organism to act as a warning signal. The mimic gains protection from predators based on its appearance of a toxic organism.

Henry Walter Bates

An English explorer and naturalist who first scientifically noted mimicry in animals. His 


Batesian Mimicry between a harmless butterfly and a toxic butterfly species

work on butterflies in the Amazon led him to name Batesian mimicry after himself.

Batesian mimicry can also be seen in plants. There are many species of orchis who display Batesian food mimicry. This involves tricking pollinators into thinking they will be rewarded by food. Flies and moths who rely mainly on sight to find their reciprocating plant can be decieved by a non-rewarding plant that has co-evolved to look almost the same  (Jersáková,Šmilauer, Jürgens, & Johnson, 2012). 

Another plant strategy is to mimic a pollinators mate. Using a combination of visual and sent mimicry, there are over 10,000 orchids that have evolved to look like females of several different types of insects. 

PBS Evolution  

Plant mimicry

Orchid mimicking a bee. Source: PBS Evolution

Another example of Batesian mimicry is the king snake and coral snake. The king snake mimics the coral snake and benefits because predators will avoid the king snake. There is a great video, but the link is not supported:

King snake coral snake

Coral Snake & King Snake - mimicry

Science Daily: Study of Poisonous Snakes Boosts Old Batesian Principle of Mimicry

Wild orchid wasp mimic - David Attenborough - BBC

Wild orchid wasp mimic - David Attenborough - BBC


Batesian Mimicry between the Hawkmoth larva and the Green parrot snake


Mullerian MimicryEdit

An unpalatable or toxic organism uses similar colors and patterns of another toxic organism to warn predators. Many species within the same family may share similar appearances. If a predator samples one species, it will learn to avoid the others within the family.

Fritz Muller

German naturalist who observed a different type of mimicry while studying insects. He coined the term after himself about20 years after Walter Bates discovered the Batesian mimicry phenomena.

Mullerian frogs

Mullerian Mimicry between poison dart frogs.

Mullarian bees

Mullerian Mimicry between the Cuckoo bee and Yellow Jacket

Cryptic ColorationEdit

Coloration and patterns which allow an organism to blend in to its environment. Also known as "camouflage", this form of mimicry conceals an organism from dedection.

 Many differnt species use mimicry animal and plants alike. Here is a website with many different examples.

Here a another great example of mimicry