Batesian mimicry

Batesian mimicry is a type of mimicry where a harmless organism mimics a poisonous or unpalatable one. Predators learn to avoid the unpleasant organism and, because predators are unable to distinguish the mimic from the poisonous/unpalatable organism, the mimics are also avoided.

The success of Batesian mimics is related to the proportions of the original organism and the mimic in the environment. If there are high numbers of mimics then predators encounter these more often than the poisonous organism. If this is the case then the predator is less likely to learn to avoid the two organisms.

A photograph of a drone fly (_Eristalis tenax_). Drone flies are batesian mimics of honey bees.

A photograph of a drone fly (Eristalis tenax). Drone flies are batesian mimics of honey bees.
Photograph by Tony Wills licensed under Creative Commons.

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