mimicry(redirected from Müllerian mimicry)
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n. pl. mimic·ries
Biology The resemblance of one organism to another or to an object in its surroundings for concealment and protection from predators.
Etymology: Gk, mimetikos, imitation
1 the effort of one species or organism to resemble another to obtain an offensive or defensive advantage.
2 an autonomic nervous system phenomenon in which facial expressions may be the unwilled and largely unconscious expression of feelings and ideas. See also molecular mimicry.
The practice or instance of one organism copying or mimicking another organism or object, sometimes for concealment from predators.
mimicrythe adoption by one species of any of the properties of another, such as colour, habits, structure. Particularly common in insects, two main forms of mimicry are recognized:
- Batesian mimicry, where two species have the same appearance (often warning colours) but one (the ‘model’) is distasteful to predators. The mimic gains advantage because predators learn to associate appearance with bad taste and leave both model and mimic uneaten.
- Mullerian mimicry, where both model and mimic are distasteful to predators and both gain from the other's distastefulness since the predator learns to avoid all similar-looking forms, whichever it eats first.