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Darwin's Man in BrazilThe Evolving Science of Fritz Müller$
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David A. West

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062600

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062600.001.0001

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Lepidopteran Scent and Mimicry, 1870–1883

Lepidopteran Scent and Mimicry, 1870–1883

Chapter:
(p.158) 8 Lepidopteran Scent and Mimicry, 1870–1883
Source:
Darwin's Man in Brazil
Author(s):

David A. West

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813062600.003.0009

Müller is now known only as the discoverer of Müllerian mimicry. That discovery stems from extensive comparative study of butterfly species and builds on the finding that small male-only structures are glands producing scents attractive to conspecific females. These diverse structures, Müller argued, exemplify convergent evolution, not homology. Other scent glands, found in both sexes, produce noxious odors. These, he argued, are defense mechanisms; predators learn to avoid noxious prey. Furthermore, noxious species from widely separated genera mimic each other’s markings (both color and pattern). Müllerian mimicry differs from Batesian mimicry, in which palatable species mimic noxious species. In Müllerian mimicry, all species “profit” because predators need the same number of trials to learn to avoid the Müllerian mimics as is required for them to learn to avoid one species. Müller explained Batesian and Müllerian mimicry via natural selection, but his causal mechanisms were not appreciated until the mid-twentieth century.

Keywords:   butterfly, scent glands, convergent evolution, Batesian mimicry, Müllerian mimicry, natural selection

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