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automimicry

automimicry Mimicry that exploits polymorphism for palatability to predators. In the monarch butterfly, for example, unpalatability arises from the food plants which are chosen by the ovipositing female. After hatching, the feeding larvae take in substances that are toxic to birds but not to the insects themselves. This renders them unpalatable. The situation is used to advantage by palatable members of the species, which mimic the coloration of the unpalatable ones and so obtain protection. The polymorphism is frequency dependent, and the unpalatable insects must be more abundant (and hence more frequently encountered by the bird predators) than the palatable insects.

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"automimicry." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"automimicry." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/automimicry-0

"automimicry." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/automimicry-0

automimicry

automimicry The presence of a polymorphism for palatability to predators. In the monarch butterfly, for example, unpalatability arises from the food plants which are chosen by the ovipositing female. After hatching, the feeding larvae take in substances that are toxic to birds but not to the insects themselves. This renders them unpalatable. The situation is used to advantage by palatable members of the species, which mimic the coloration of the unpalatable ones and so obtain protection. The polymorphism is frequency-dependent, and the unpalatable insects must be more abundant (and hence more frequently encountered by the bird predators) than the palatable insects.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
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"automimicry." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"automimicry." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/automimicry

"automimicry." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/automimicry