MIMICRY, in zoology, the deceptive and advantageous resemblance presented by defenceless and edible species of animals to other species of animals living in the same locality, which are harmful or distasteful and are consequently avoided by all or by a majority of the enemies of the class to which the mimetic and usually the mimicked species belong.
Between spiders and ants or spiders and beetles; yet even in this case both mimic and model have in common certain fundamental structural points to which the finishing touches completing the mimetic likeness are superadded.
But in no case does it appear that the modifications in shape and colour, which contribute to bring about a mimetic resemblance, are greater and more elaborate than those which result in the simpler examples of ordinary protective resemblance.
They appear, however, to have no appreciation of mimetic and warning colours, and have therefore not influenced in any way the evolution of mimetic resemblances dependent upon hues and patterns.
Nevertheless, as explained below, it seems to be highly probable that ant-imitating insects and spiders, when the resemblance is dependent to a greater extent upon size, shape and movement than upon tint, have acquired their mimetic likeness especially to protect them from the attacks of such insect-enemies as predaceous wasps of the family Pompilidae, flies of the family Asilidae, and from socalled parasitic hymenoptera of the family Ichneumonidae, as well as from other insect-eating Arthropods.
It is possible that this resemblance is mimetic in the Batesian sense of the word, and that the Poecilogale, if inoffensive, profits by its likeness to the highly offensive and warningly coloured Ictonyx.
The most primitive of these is antinorii from Abyssinia, which is non-mimetic and has the two sexes nearly alike.
The sub-species polytrophus from the Kikuyu Escarpments also has the planemoides and cenea forms and another form trimeni, which is intermediate between the unmodified female of antinorii and hippocoon, and like the latter is mimetic of Amauris niavius dominicanus.
Special attention may be drawn to two phenomena connected with it, both of not uncommon occurrence in mimetic Lepidoptera.
It is advantageous therefore that the numbers of the mimetic species should be fewer than those of the model; and this appears to be achieved in some cases by the individuals of the mimetic species dividing themselves between two or more models.
Very commonly different species of aculeate Hymenoptera, inhabiting the same district, form the centres of mimetic attraction for insects of various orders, so that a considerable percentage of the insect-fauna can be arranged in groups according to the pattern of the particular model the species have copied.
An example of the latter occurs in Singapore where the vicious red spinning-ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) is mimicked by the larva of a Noctuid moth and by spiders belonging to two distinct families, namely, Saltiicus plataleoides (Salticidae) and Amyciaea forticeps (Thomisidae), there being no reason to suppose that either the moth larva or the spiders are protected forms. Mimetic aggregations of species similar to those mentioned above have been found in other countries; but the instances cited are sufficient to show how widespread are the influences of mimicry and how profoundly it has modified the insect fauna of various parts of the world.
In the Eumenides of Aeschylus" the Erinyes are reproached in that by aiding Clytemnestra, who slew her husband, " they are dishonouring and bringing to naught the pledges of Zeus and Hera, the marriage-goddess "; and these were the divinities to whom sacrifice was offered before the wedding," and it may be that some kind of mimetic representation of the " Holy Marriage," the IEpos ydpos, of Zeus and Hera formed a part of the Attic nuptial ceremonies.'
In the article Crystallography the nature and behaviour of twinned crystals receives full treatment; here it is sufficient to say that when the planes and axes of twinning are planes and axes of symmetry, a twin would exhibit higher symmetry (but remain in the same crystal system) than the primary crystal; and, also, if a crystal approximates in its axial constants to 'a higher system, mimetic twinning would increase the approximation, and the crystal would be pseudo-symmetric.
While polysymmetry is solely conditioned by the manner in which the mimetic twin is built up from the single crystals, there being no change in the scalar properties, and the vector properties being calculable from the nature of the twinning, in the case of polymorphism entirely different structures present themselves, both scalar and vector properties being altered; and, in the present state of our knowledge, it is impossible to foretell the characters of a polymorphous modification.
" Natural Selection the Cause of Mimetic Resemblance and Common Warning Colour," Journ.