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Mimicry

Batesian Mimicry, Müllerian Mimicry, Aggressive Mimicry

Mimicry may broadly be defined as imitation or copying of an action or image. In biological systems, mimicry specifically refers to the fascinating resemblance of an organism, called the "mimic," to another somewhat distantly related organism, called the "model." The set of mimic and model species involved is often referred to as a mimicry complex. Usually through escape from predation, the mimicry of a trait or traits helps the mimic to survive. This, coupled with the fact that the resemblance traits are genetically based, implies that mimicry complexes have been shaped by natural selection. There are two major types of mimicry, Batesian and Müllerian, named after the naturalists that first theorized them upon their observations of butterflies. There are a few other types that are not as prevalent, such as aggressive mimicry.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Methane to Molecular clock