Multi-trait mimicry and the relative salience of individual traits
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 282, no 1818, 20152127Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Mimicry occurs when one species gains protection from predators by resembling an unprofitable model species. The degree of mimic-model similarity is variable in nature and is closely related to the number of traits that the mimic shares with its model. Here, we experimentally test the hypothesis that the relative salience of traits, as perceived by a predator, is an important determinant of the degree of mimic-model similarity required for successful mimicry. We manipulated the relative salience of the traits of a two-trait artificial model prey, and subsequently tested the survival of mimics of the different traits. The unrewarded model prey had two colour traits, black and blue, and the rewarded prey had two combinations of green, brown and grey shades. Blue tits were used as predators. We found that the birds perceived the black and blue traits similarly salient in one treatment, and mimic-model similarity in both traits was then required for high mimic success. In a second treatment, the blue trait was the most salient trait, and mimic-model similarity in this trait alone achieved high success. Our results thus support the idea that similar salience of model traits can explain the occurrence of multi-trait mimicry.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 282, no 1818, 20152127
salience, discrimination learning, generalization, overshadowing, imperfect mimicry, evolution, multi-component signals
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122229DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2127ISI: 000364850200019PubMedID: 26511051OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122229DiVA: diva2:865567
FunderSwedish Research Council