aggressive mimicry [%PREMIUM_LINK%] (ə-grěs'ĭv) Pronunciation Key |
A form of mimicry in which a predator (the mimic) closely resembles another organism (the model) that is attractive to a third organism (the dupe) on which the mimic preys. The anglerfish is an example of aggressive mimicry, having a modified dorsal spine that mimics a worm or small shrimp and serves as a lure to attract its prey. Compare Batesian mimicry, Müllerian mimicry.
a form of similarity in which a predator or parasite gains an advantage by its resemblance to a third party. This model may be the prey (or host) species itself, or it may be a species that the prey does not regard as threatening. An example in which the prey itself serves as the model can be seen in the mimicry used by female fireflies of the genus Photuris. These insects imitate the mating flashes of the fireflies of the genus Photinus; the unlucky Photinus males deceived by the mimics are eaten. Another example is found in the brood parasitism practiced by the European cuckoo (Cuculus canorus). The eggs of this species closely resemble those of several kinds of small birds, in whose nests the cuckoo lays its clutch. The hosts accept the eggs as their own and hatch and rear the young cuckoos.
Learn more about aggressive mimicry with a free trial on Britannica.com.