Not the Sincerest Form of Flattery: The Puzzle of Imperfect Batesian Mimicry

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
02074344479 ext 211

LUNCHTIME LECTURE 12:30–13:00 Wednesday 30 October 2019

Leafcutter Bee
© Tom Reader

Cheating is rife in nature. For example, some palatable prey deceive predators by resembling defended or unpalatable “model” species. This form of deception, known as Batesian mimicry, provides some exquisite examples of evolution by natural selection, and has fascinated biologists since Darwin’s time. However, many conspicuous mimics are far from perfect imitations of their supposed models. So why have they not evolved to be better? Here, Dr Tom Reader will explore possible answers to this question, and show that imperfect mimicry is a powerful test-case for our understanding of how natural selection shapes the appearance of organisms in the natural world.

Dr Tom Reader is an Associate Professor in Ecology at the University of Nottingham. His research focusses on the ecological and behavioural forces shaping the evolution of animal signals. He has a particular interest in polymorphic and mimetic colour patterns, especially in insects.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Doors will open at 12:15.
  • Tea will be served in the Library following the event.

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