In aggressive mimicry, a ‘predatory’ species resembles a model that is harmless or beneficial to a third species, the ‘dupe’. We tested critical predictions of Batesian mimicry models, i.e. that benefits of mimicry to mimics and costs of mimicry to models should be experienced only when model and mimic co–occur, in an aggressive mimicry system involving juvenile bluestreaked cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) as models and bluestriped fangblennies (Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos) as mimics. Cleanerfish mimics encountered nearly twice as many potential victims and had higher striking rates when in proximity to than when away from the model. Conversely, in the presence of mimics, juvenile cleaner wrasses were visited by fewer clients and spent significantly less time foraging. The benefits to mimic and costs to model thus depend on a close spatial association between model and mimic. Batesian mimicry theory may therefore provide a useful initial framework to understand aggressive mimicry.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
|Published - 27 Dec 2004