Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera


  • Heather J. McAuslane
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4628

Mimicry, broadly defined, is the superficial resemblance of one organism to another organism, usually providing a selective advantage to the mimicker. The term mimicry is used occasionally to describe organisms that mimic inanimate objects in their environment (such as young swallowtail larvae resembling bird droppings and grasshoppers or katydids resembling leaves). However, this phenomenon is also variously labeled as crypsis, camouflage, mimesis or special resemblance, and will not be discussed under the term mimicry.

Many insect species have evolved to mimic other species of insects, and even other groups of organisms, for a variety of reasons. Likewise, some non-insect organisms have evolved to mimic specific insects. The most common type of mimicry is visual, where mimics and their models look very similar to each other. The perceived commonness of this type of mimicry may be elevated somewhat by the visual emphasis of humans, the studiers and cataloguers of nature. However,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather J. McAuslane
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA