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Monarch and Viceroy butterfly?


The viceroy butterfly disguises itself as a monarch because the viceroy can be eaten by birds and the monarch cannot. If in one meadow there are many viceroys but few monarchs, would the viceroy’s coloring greatly improve its chance of survival?

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One Response to “Monarch and Viceroy butterfly?”

  1. Tad

    For many years it was believed that the Viceroy ‘stole’ the danger coloration of the Monarch and wasn’t poisonous itself. This is called Batesian mimicry where one is poisonous and the other isn’t. However, recent studies have suggested that Viceroys are actually more dis-tasteful to birds than previously believed, and when two completely different species have evolved to look alike and both are actually bad tasting this strengthens their warning defense and is known as Müllerian mimicry.

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