Which traits do observers use to distinguish Batesian mimics from their models?

Taylor, Christopher H. and Warrin, Jonathan and Gilbert, Francis and Reader, Tom (2016) Which traits do observers use to distinguish Batesian mimics from their models? Behavioral Ecology, 28 (2). pp. 460-470. ISSN 1465-7279

[img] PDF (proof) - Repository staff only until 20 December 2017. - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB)

Abstract

Batesian mimicry, in which a harmless mimic resembles a more aversive model, can encompass a wide range of morphological traits, but the resemblance is never perfect. Previous studies have used abstract “prey” designs to show that differences in certain traits may not be relevant to mimicry if they are not perceived or recognized by a predator. Here, we extend these results by examining how human “predators” respond to realistic variation in traits of aposematic wasps and their hoverfly mimics. We measured the ability of humans to discriminate between images of wasps and hoverflies in which only certain traits were visible, to determine the contributions of those traits to discrimination decisions. We found that shape is a particularly useful and easily learnt trait for separating the two taxa. Subjects did not successfully discriminate on the basis of abdominal patterns, despite those containing useful information. Color similarity between wasps and hoverflies is relatively high in comparison with other traits, suggesting that selection has acted more strongly on color. Our findings demonstrate the importance of consideration of natural variation in the traits of prey and their salience to predators for understanding the evolution of prey defenses.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Behavioral Ecology following peer review. The version of record, Christopher H. Taylor, Jonathan Warrin, Francis Gilbert, and Tom Reader Which traits do observers use to distinguish Batesian mimics from their models? Behavioral Ecology first published online December 20, 2016 doi:10.1093/beheco/arw166 is available online at: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/12/20/beheco.arw166
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1093/beheco/arw166
Depositing User: Gilbert, Francis
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 11:27
Last Modified: 17 May 2017 08:03
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/38787

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View