Tuesday, 2 July 2013

More on mimicry

You may remember last year I posted on Crypsis and Mimesis in moths? You might have guessed that I like mimicry! Yesterday while looking for bumblebees I came across this:

This is not what it looks like as it is the Hoverfly Volucella bombylans var. plumata which exhibits Batesian Mimicry. Batesian mimicry is all about looking like someone else for a variety of reasons (looking like someone who is toxic when you are not to fool predators for instance). For this Hoverfly, the reason is simpler but more devious as it clearly looks like a Bumblebee. The reason is that they manage to sneak in to Bumblebee nests to lay their eggs and the larvae feed on nest detritus. Indeed there are two forms, var. plumata and var. bombylans that look like Bombus lapidarius and Bombus leucorum/terrestris (below) respectively.

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