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Mimicry in a Diverse Community of Arthropods

Author(s): HHMI BioInteractive

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Module exploring how researchers exposed arthropod mimics that use a golden patch to warn of unpalatability to predators with different prey preferences to determine how effective their warnings were.

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Version 1.0 - published on 21 Feb 2018 doi:10.25334/Q49M4V - cite this


This activity includes the data for the proportion of prey captured by three predators (skink, Lampona sp., and Servaea sp.) for each of six species of arthropod prey (along X axis). The five species on the left are mimics with gold coloration on their abdomens to warn predators of their defenses. The non-mimic group (Badumna insignis, a spider) does not display such coloring. The prey species are listed in order of palatability (based on a combination of all defenses, such as spines and chemicals) with the least palatable on the left and most palatable on the right. The first three groups on the left are ants; Daerlac sp. are “true bugs” (order Hemiptera); and Myrmarachne sp. are spiders. Daerlac sp. and Myrmarachne sp. are also ant mimics in terms of their body shape. The three predator species vary in their prey preferences: skinks are lizards that are visual hunter with no feeding preferences among arthropod groups, Lampona sp. are spiders and are non-visual predators that avoids ants, and Servaea sp. are spiders that are specialized ant predators.

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