Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 7–8, pp 691–708 | Cite as

Incorporating Motion into Investigations of mimicry

  • Robert B. Srygley


During the past thirty years, natural selection due to predation has been investigated with regard to prey motion in three areas that are relevant to the evolution of mimicry: (1) anti-apostatic selection, (2) locomotor mimicry, and (3) escape mimicry. Anti-apostatic selection, or selection against the odd individuals, arises when prey are at very high densities or when prey are Müllerian mimics. When prey are at high densities, motion of the prey increases selection against odd individuals. When the prey are Müllerian mimics, motion may also play an important role in strengthening selection against odd individuals. This may explain locomotor mimicry between Müllerian mimics. Locomotor mimicry arises when two distantly-related prey species appear alike in behaviour, and there is a corresponding suite of morphological, physiological, and biomechanical traits that the prey have in common. Locomotor mimicry has been demonstrated in Müllerian mimics. It is also predicted to occur in Batesian mimics but with important limitations due to selection by the predator for the prey to maintain the ability to escape if detected. Locomotor mimicry may also occur between palatable species that are alike as a result of unprofitable prey (or escape) mimicry. Escape mimicry arises when prey are difficult to capture. By frustration learning, the predator associates the colour of the prey with unprofitability. In all three instances, dis-similarity in colour or motion probably increases selection against the odd individual. In addition, the interaction of colour and motion gives rise to greater reliability of the signals to a specialist predator. However for a generalist predator, multiple component signals of the prey lead to errors in signal perception and greater risk of cheating.

anti-apostatic selection escape mimicry locomotor mimicry perception predator–prey selection 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. Srygley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK (tel.

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