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Müllerian Mimicry

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Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior


Honest mimetic signal


A convergent pattern of morphological and/or behavioral traits in organisms that signal aposematism for predators.


Predators exert strong selective pressures on prey, therefore shaping their defensive strategies. According to the theory of optimal foraging, predators tend to maximize their energy absorption per unit of time. During the first step of the assessment phase of a potential prey, the predator needs to distinguish palatable and easy prey from unpalatable, dangerous or difficult to capture prey (Fig. 1). A naive predator trying the unpalatable prey (Step 1, Fig. 1). The decision to attack or not depends on the animal’s cognition through instinctual behavior (innate) and/or previous experiences (learning). These decisions must be made quickly and accurately, as mistakes can result in high costs including unpleasant experiences, injuries or even death. On the next attempt, the experienced predator starts to avoid...

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Correspondence to Dirleane O. Rossato .

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Rossato, D.O., Kaminski, L.A. (2022). Müllerian Mimicry. In: Vonk, J., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham.

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