Difference Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry

The main difference between Batesian and Mullerian mimicry is that Batesian mimicry is the exhibition of the characteristics of a dangerous species by a harmless species to avoid predators whereas Mullerian mimicry is the exhibition of similar characteristics by similar species to avoid predators.

Mimicry is a biological phenomenon in which animals resemble another organism for protecting from their predators. Batesian mimicry, Mullarian mimicry, and Mertensian mimicry are three forms of defensive mimicry.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Batesian Mimicry
     – Definition, Importance, Frequency
2. What is Mullerian Mimicry
     – Definition, Facts, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Batesian Mimicry, Mimic, Model, Müllerian Mimicry, PredatorDifference Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry - Comparison Summary

What is Batesian Mimicry

Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry where a harmless animal mimics a warning system such as conspicuous coloration of a dangerous animal in order to avoid predators. Here, the harmless animal is known as the mimic while the dangerous animal it mimics is known as the model. The mimics gain protection because predators mistake them for dangerous animals (model). Henry Walter Bates was the first scientist to discover this form of mimicry. He discovered this after his work on butterflies in Brazil. Batesian mimicry among different species of butterflies is shown in figure 1.

Main Difference - Batesian vs Mullerian Mimicry

Figure 1: Batesian Mimicry

In Batesian mimicry, the model animal should be more abundant than the mimic. If the frequency of the mimic is high, the predator has a greater chance to attack the mimic.

What is Mullerian Mimicry

Müllerian mimicry is a form of mimicry where two unrelated dangerous animals develop similar appearances as a shared protective device. They may exhibit same patterns of bright colors. They may be noxious or dangerous to the predators. Müllerian mimicry in two species of butterflies is shown in figure 2.

Difference Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry

Figure2: Mullerian Mimicry
Erbessa mimica (top), Josia oribia (bottom)

Since the animals who exhibit Müllerian mimicry are dangerous, predators benefit by this type of mimicry in their prey.

Similarities Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry

  • Batesian and Müllerian mimicry are two biological phenomena in which animals resemble another organism to avoid predators.
  • Both types of mimicry occur in two unrelated animals.

Difference Between Batesian and Mullerian Mimicry

Definition

Batesian Mimicry: A form of mimicry where a harmless animal mimics a dangerous animal in order to avoid predators

Müllerian Mimicry: A form of mimicry where two unrelated dangerous animals develop similar appearances as a shared protective device

Animals

Batesian Mimicry: Exhibited by harmless animals 

Müllerian Mimicry: Exhibited by harmful animals 

Benefit

Batesian Mimicry: The mimic benefits 

Müllerian Mimicry: Both mimic and predator benefit 

Abundance of the Mimic

Batesian Mimicry: Model should be abundant than the mimic 

Müllerian Mimicry: Both predator and mimic may be equally abundant

Type of Relationship

Batesian Mimicry: A type of parasitic relationship

Müllerian Mimicry: A type of mutualistic relationship

Examples

Batesian Mimicry: The harmless Therea beetle mimics the noxious Tortoise beetle 

Müllerian Mimicry: The red postman butterfly and the common postman butterfly exhibit almost similar placement of dots on their wings 

Conclusion

Batesian mimicry is the exhibition of unpalatable and harmful characteristics by harmless animals while Müllerian mimicry is the exhibition of similar characteristics by two dangerous animals. Therefore, both Batesian and Müllerian mimicry aid in avoiding predators. The main difference between Batesian and Mullerian mimicry is the palatability and harmfulness of the animals who exhibit each type of mimicry.

Reference:

1. “Batesian Mimicry.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 13 Oct. 2011, .
2. Hadley, Debbie. “Have You Seen Müllerian Mimicry in Your Backyard?” ThoughtCo, .

Image Courtesy:

1. “Batesian mimicry (32187014225)” By yakovlev.alexey from Moscow, Russia – Batesian mimicry via
2. “Mullerian mimicry in butterflies” By made using free pictures by James S. Miller, (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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