Out of the frying pan and into the fire: a novel trade-off for Batesian mimics (2006)
AuthorsNelson XJ, Li D, Jackson RRshow all
Alternative TitleSalticids that mimic ants and get eaten by ant specialists
A mimicry system was investigated in which the models were ants (Formicidae) and both the mimics and the predators were jumping spiders (Salticidae). By using motionless lures in simultaneous-presentation prey-choice tests, how the predators respond specifically to the static appearance of ants and ant mimics was determined. These findings suggest a rarely considered adaptive trade-off for Batesian mimics of ants. Mimicry may be advantageous when it deceives ant-averse potential predators, but disadvantageous in encounters with ant-eating specialists. Nine myrmecophagic (ant-eating) species (from Africa, Asia, Australia and North America) and one araneophagic (spider-eating) species (Portia fimbriata from Queensland) were tested with ants (five species), with myrmecomorphic (ant-like) salticids (six species of Myrmarachne) and with non-ant-like prey (dipterans and ordinary salticids). The araneophagic salticid chose an ordinary salticid and chose flies significantly more often than ants. Portia fimbriata also chose the ordinary salticid and chose flies significantly more often than myrmecomorphic salticids. However, there was no significant difference in how P. fimbriata responded to ants and to myrmecomorphic salticids. The myrmecophagic salticids chose ants and chose myrmecomorphic salticids significantly more often than ordinary salticids and significantly more often than flies, but myrmecophagic salticids did not respond significantly differently to myrmecomorphic salticids and ants. © 2006 Blackwell Verlag.
CitationNelson XJ, Li D, Jackson RR (2006). Out of the frying pan and into the fire: a novel trade-off for Batesian mimics. Ethology. 112(3). 270-277.
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Keywordsants; Batesian mimicry; predation; myrmecophagy; spiders; trade-off
ANZSRC Fields of Research06 - Biological Sciences::0608 - Zoology::060801 - Animal Behaviour
06 - Biological Sciences::0608 - Zoology::060808 - Invertebrate Biology