Image © Tom Reader

Cheating is rife in nature. For example, some palatable prey deceive predators by resembling defended or unpalatable “model” species. This form of deception, known as Batesian mimicry, provides some exquisite examples of evolution by natural selection, and has fascinated biologists since Darwin’s time. However, many conspicuous mimics are far from perfect imitations of their supposed models. So why have they not evolved to be better? Here, Dr Tom Reader will explore possible answers to this question, and show that imperfect mimicry is a powerful test-case for our understanding of how natural selection shapes the appearance of organisms in the natural world.

 
Dr Tom Reader is an Associate Professor in Ecology at the University of Nottingham. His research focusses on the ecological and behavioural forces shaping the evolution of animal signals. He has a particular interest in polymorphic and mimetic colour patterns, especially in insects.
 
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