Imperfect Mimicry and the Limits of Natural Selection

  title={Imperfect Mimicry and the Limits of Natural Selection},
  author={David William Kikuchi and David W. Pfennig},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  pages={297 - 315}
Mimicry—when one organism (the mimic) evolves a phenotypic resemblance to another (the model) due to selective benefits—is widely used to illustrate natural selection's power to generate adaptations. However, many putative mimics resemble their models imprecisely, and such imperfect mimicry represents a specific challenge to mimicry theory and a general one to evolutionary theory. Here, we discuss 11 nonmutually exclusive hypotheses for imperfect mimicry. We group these hypotheses according to… 
When is resemblance mimicry?
From this perspective, forms of receiver‐mediated selection on the mimic, what mimics need to resemble for successful mimicry to occur, and the evolution of imperfect mimicry are explored.
Insincere Flattery? Understanding the Evolution of Imperfect Deceptive Mimicry
A better understanding of the hypotheses and clarification of the distinctions or similarities between them is necessary, since each hypothesis makes very different assumptions, requiring different analytical approaches.
Natural selection in mimicry
This review describes how selective forces generated through model–mimic resemblance can be opposed by the basic ecology of interacting organisms and how those forces may affect the symmetry, strength and likelihood of (co)evolution between the three protagonists within the confines of the four broad evolutionary possibilities.
Mimicry, Camouflage and Perceptual Exploitation: the Evolution of Deception in Nature
  • E. Font
  • Art, Biology
  • 2018
The common thread through these diverse phenomena is deception of a receiver by a mimic, and receiver deception emerges as a key characteristic of mimicry shared with some types of camouflage and perceptual exploitation.
Diversity of warning signal and social interaction influences the evolution of imperfect mimicry
It is suggested that the evolution of new patterns could be favored by social learning in areas of low pattern diversity, while individual learning can reduce predation pressure on recently evolved mimics in areas that differ in model pattern richness.
Reciprocal mimicry: kin selection can drive defended prey to resemble their Batesian mimics
A signal detection model of Batesian mimicry in which the population of defended model prey is kin structured is presented, showing for most of parameter space that increased average dissimilarity from mimics has a twofold group-level cost for the model prey.
Mimicry for all modalities.
A novel conceptual framework whereby mimicry evolves if a receiver perceives the similarity between a mimic and a model and as a result confers a selective benefit onto the mimic and shows that imperfect mimicry is expected to be the norm.
Mimicry and Semiotic Evolution
The connection between mimicry and semiotic evolution is discussed, whereas the general focus of this book still lies in the structural aspects of mimicry and horizontal communicative processes therein.
Frequency dependence shapes the adaptive landscape of imperfect Batesian mimicry
The results provide compelling experimental evidence that imperfect Batesian mimicry is frequency-dependent on the relative abundance of models and mimics in natural populations, and contribute to the growing body of evidence that complex dynamics, such as seasonality or the availability of alternative prey, influence the evolution of mimetic traits.


Competition and the evolution of imperfect mimicry
This work considers whether imperfect mimicry represents an evolutionary compromise between predator-mediated selection favoring mimetic conver- gence and competitively mediated selection favoring divergence, and reviews the various ways in which character displacement could promote imprecise mimicry.
The evolution of imperfect mimicry
A simple signal detection model is used to show that the relationship between model--mimic similarity and mimic effectiveness is typically nonlinear, and predicts that if mimics spend an equal amount of time with each model species, then the optimal intermediate phenotype should more closely resemble the least numerous and least noxious model.
The Evolution of Mimicry under Constraints
An evolutionary game theory model of mimicry is presented that incorporates constraints on how cognitive constraints acting on signal receivers may help determine evolutionarily stable levels of mimicr.
The evolution of inaccurate mimics
It is shown here, however, that truly inaccurate mimicry of a single model organism may be favoured over perfect resemblance, by kin selection.
A comparative analysis of the evolution of imperfect mimicry
It is shown that the most plausible explanation is that predators impose less selection for mimetic fidelity on smaller hoverfly species because they are less profitable prey items, which supports the relaxed-selection hypothesis and rejects several key hypotheses for imperfect mimicry.
Imperfect mimicry: a pigeon’s perspective
P pigeons behave as if many hoverflies are indeed wasp mimics, however, they rank the two commonest hoverflies as very similar to wasps, despite these looking decidedly poor mimics to the human eye.
This experiment suggests that the availability of alternative prey affects the dynamics of both Müllerian and Batesian mimicry, but in different ways.
Predator Cognition Permits Imperfect Coral Snake Mimicry
It is suggested that L. elapsoides have evolved only those signals necessary to deceive predators, and that species that match coral snakes in other respects are not under selection to match the ring order of their model.
Selection overrides gene flow to break down maladaptive mimicry
Although gene flow may explain why batesian mimics occur in allopatry, natural selection may often override such gene flow and promote the evolution of non-mimetic phenotypes in such areas.
A Batesian mimic and its model share color production mechanisms
It is shown that a Batesian mimic, the scarlet kingsnake Lampropeltis elapsoides , produces its coloration using the same physiological mechanisms as does its model, the eastern coral snake Micrurus fulvius, therefore, precise color mimicry may have been able to evolve easily in this system.