Conclusion

Like Driver and Humphries [37] in their seminal work on protean behavior, we make no apology for having delved back into nineteenth and early twentieth century descriptions of mimicry and animal behavior. The reasons are obvious: Mimicry has been known about for at least 150 years, and there were many early papers reporting much work, discussion, speculation, and argument about the subject. In the context of this article, there are many observations by early entomologists, notably Bates, Carpenter, Poulton, and Shelford, that emphasized that behavior is just as important as morphology for successful mimetic deception. However, as we have seen, many aspects of mimicry, particularly those relating to behavior, have only been recorded as anecdotal observations and have remained largely unstudied on a quantitative basis. Moreover, the interrelations between behavior, locomotion, and mimicry have barely been addressed.

Of course quantifying behavior and movement is not particularly easy, but it is surprising that almost no attempt has been made to quantify the running and walking movements and gaits of Hymenoptera such as ants and wasps and their Batesian mimics from other insect orders. Because land locomotion is by its nature carried out largely in two dimensions, filming and quantifying movement should present little problem. Of the quantitative research that has been carried out on the more complex subject of flight in butterflies and hoverflies, analysis has largely been confined to examining flight in two dimensions. Complex three-dimensional movement has not been tackled because of its technical difficulty. Neither has much effort been put into examining the aerodynamic basis of flight mimicry. Closer examination of the movements of the body and wings during maneuvers by mimetic and nonmi-metic insects would help to determine whether mimics show convergence to their models in aerodynamics.

There are some fascinating examples of behavioral mimicry to study, so if anyone is looking for a new line of research, there is plenty of scope!

0 0

Post a comment