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Question about Mimicry evolution?

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Question about Mimicry evolution?

Postby rinnie » Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:29 pm

This is not a homework question. I'm studying for a test and am unable to find the answer in my textbook or on the internet.

An organism evolves to look like a an organism with an antipredator defense. The trend continues as more and more organisms in the species exhibit this harmless mimic. (Batesian mimicry) An organism with a bad taste evolves to look like an organism that stings. (Mullerian mimicry) What can be said about this?

a. Mullerian mimicry is limited and diluted. Batesian mimicry is unlimited.
b. Batesian mimicry is limited and diluted. Mullerian mimicry is unlimited.
c. Both are limited and diluted.
d. Both are unlimited and strengthen the organism.

I have an answer, but I'd like a second opinion?
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Postby mith » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:42 pm

sounds like the batesian method dilutes the number of actually harmful creatures.
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Postby AstusAleator » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:22 pm

I would say A - but I'm not completely familiar with the context of the terminology being used here. The reason I say A is because:

In Mullerian mimicry, the organism already has an antipredator defense (bad taste). The stinger mimicry may increase the fitness of an individual - depending on the predator - but the effect (selection) is diminished by the fact that there is another variable deterring predation (bad taste). So the stinger-mimicry trait is limited in its rise to dominance by the presence of another trait. I'm not sure if this is what they're also referring to as dilution... having more than one antipredator trait decreasing the selection effectiveness in the overall population.

In Batesian mimicry the only factor affecting the selection of the mimicry trait is predation. The selection for or against the trait is not "diluted" by the presence of another trait, and thus it is unlimited in its potential to become a dominant trait in the species.


I'm not sure if any of this is what your text is looking for, but I hope it helps.
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