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Mimicry is the resemblance of one group of organisms to another for the purpose of gaining protection from predators. This resemblance can be due to similar colors or shapes, or it can be achieved through behaviors, e.g., through body posture, movements, smells or sounds.
There are two basic forms of mimicry:
- In Batesian Mimicry the mimic, which lacks a defense mechanism, resembles a well defended model. For example, the model may be unpalatable due to noxious chemicals, or it may have a weapon like a stinger which could harm the predator. In Batesian Mimicry only the mimic benefits from the resemblance, and the mimicry is most effective when the mimic is rare compared to the model.
- In Müllerian Mimicry both the mimic and the model are well defended, and both benefit from the resemblance.
Icon from Borboleta-vespa by Valter Jacinto.