Mimicry in a Diverse Community of Arthropods
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that tested how effectively mimicry protects arthropods against different types of predators.
In this study, scientists looked at several mimic arthropod species with similar warning coloration: a golden patch on a black body. The scientists exposed five of these mimic species, and one non-mimic species, to predators with different prey preferences. The figure shows the proportion of prey captured by three types of predators: skinks, Lampona spiders, and Servaea spiders. The prey species are listed from left to right in order of decreasing golden coloration and increasing palatability. The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Explain what mimicry is and why it may be advantageous against certain types of predators.
adaptation, ant, aposematism, bar graph, coloration, insect, mimetic complex, prey preference, spider, visual predator
Pekár, Stano, Lenka Petráková, Matthew W. Bulbert, Martin J. Whiting, and Marie E. Herberstein. “The golden mimicry complex uses a wide spectrum of defence to deter a community of predators.” eLife 6 (2017): e22089. https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.22089.
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HS-LS4-4; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
1.A.2, 2.D.1; SP1, SP2, SP5
Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-IC.1; MP2, MP5
CC1, DP2, DP3