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Data from: Batesian mimics influence the evolution of conspicuousness in an aposematic salamander


Kraemer, Andrew C.; Serb, Jeanne M.; Adams, Dean C. (2015), Data from: Batesian mimics influence the evolution of conspicuousness in an aposematic salamander, Dryad, Dataset,


Conspicuousness, or having high contrast relative to the surrounding background, is a common feature of unpalatable species. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the occurrence of conspicuousness, and while most involve the role of conspicuousness as a direct signal of unpalatability to potential predators, one hypothesis suggests that exaggerated conspicuousness may evolve in unpalatable species to reduce predator confusion with palatable species (potential Batesian mimics). This hypothesis of antagonistic coevolution between palatable and unpalatable species hinges on the ‘cost of conspicuousness,’ in which conspicuousness increases the likelihood of predation more in palatable species than in unpalatable species. Under this mimicry scenario four patterns are expected: 1) mimics will more closely resemble local models than models from other localities, 2) there will be a positive relationship between mimic and model conspicuousness, 3) models will be more conspicuous in the presence of mimics, and 4) when models and mimics differ in conspicuousness, mimics will be less conspicuous than models. We tested these predictions in the salamander mimicry system involving Notophthalmus viridescens (model) and one color morph of Plethodon cinereus (mimic). All predictions were supported, indicating that selection for Batesian mimicry not only influences the evolution of mimics, but also the evolution of the models they resemble. These findings indicate that mimicry plays a large role in the evolution of model warning signals, particularly influencing the evolution of conspicuousness.

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