Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Butterfly Mimicry

  • Karin KjernsmoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2672-1



Protective resemblance between a butterfly and two or more species, or between a butterfly and an inanimate object.


Butterfly mimicry is a form of protective coloration where a given species, commonly referred to as the mimic, increases its chance of survival by visually resembling a harmful species, the model, such that the receiver of the signal, the predator (e.g., birds, reptiles, or predatory insects who attack and consume butterflies), gets confused between the two and avoids the mimic (Ruxton et al. 2004). The model can either be a different species of butterfly or an entirely different species of animal. In its broadest sense, butterfly mimicry may also involve a third category, a camouflage strategy known as Masquerade, in which butterflies mimic inanimate objects such as leaves, bits of lichen, or patches of tree bark (Ruxton et al. 2004). Traditionally, however, there are two main types of mimicry, and these are...


Batesian Mimicry Unpalatable Species Unpalatable Prey Mimicry Ring Batesian Mimic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Russell Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IdahoMoscowUSA