A protective function for aggressive mimicry?

Cote, Isabelle M. and Cheney, Karen L. (2007) A protective function for aggressive mimicry?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274 1624: 2445-2448. doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.0797

Author Cote, Isabelle M.
Cheney, Karen L.
Title A protective function for aggressive mimicry?
Journal name Proceedings of the Royal Society B   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-8452
Publication date 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2007.0797
Volume 274
Issue 1624
Start page 2445
End page 2448
Total pages 4
Editor W. Hill
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
270702 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
780105 Biological sciences
270501 Animal Systematics, Taxonomy and Phylogeny
06 Biological Sciences
Abstract Mimicry often involves a protective element, whereby the risk of predation on mimics is reduced owing to their resemblance to unpalatable models. However, protection from predation has so far seemed unimportant in aggressive mimicry, where mimics are usually predators rather than prey. Here, we demonstrate that bluestriped fangblennies (Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos), which are aggressive mimics of juvenile bluestreak cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus), derive significant protection benefits from their resemblance to cleaner fish. Field observations revealed that mimetic fangblennies were chased by potential victims less often than individuals of a closely related, ecologically and behaviourally similar but non- mimetic species (Plagiotremus tapeinosoma). After attacks, proximity to models protected mimics from retaliation by victims, but the effect of colour similarity was less clear. Both colour resemblance and physical proximity to models thus appear to protect cleaner- fish mimics from aggression by potential and actual victims of their attacks. Our results suggest that the mimicry types observed in nature, which are usually distinguished on the basis of the benefits accrued to mimics, may in fact overlap greatly in the benefits provided.
Keyword Biology
coral reef fish
Labroides dimidiatus
Plagiotremus tapeinosoma
Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos
Coral-reef Fishes
Batesian Mimicry
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Thu, 08 May 2008, 09:18:48 EST by Sian Rodgie on behalf of School of Biological Sciences