Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Experiments On Mimicry: I. the Response of Wild Birds To Artificial Prey

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Artificial prey, consisting of a piece of pastry placed on a coloured card, were placed randomly on an area of suburban lawn. Wild birds, mostly Starlings, were allowed to eat them. The birds were first conditioned to accept an edible green control and were then presented with equal numbers of controls and a red model, which was made distasteful by soaking the pastry in quinine hydrochloride. The birds rapidly became conditioned to eating the controls and leaving the models; this fact, and their observed reactions, show that they found the models unpalatable. The birds were then presented with controls, models and edible mimics in the ratio I : 2 : I. There were four kinds of mimic, one perfectly resembling the model, the others differing in a change of colour (yellow), or the addition of a black bar, or both. One type of mimic was offered in each trial, and the type changed according to a randomised block design. Perfect mimics were almost completely protected from predation. An analysis of the variance in the predation of the four types of mimic show that colour is of great importance in determining the rate of predation (yellow mimics being eaten more than red), that the black bar is of lesser importance, and that the birds' reaction to both these changed with time. The analysis is thought to indicate, but not prove, that the birds 'generalise' (desist somewhat from eating even the poor mimics). The red mimic with the black bar was eaten significantly more than the perfect red mimic, showing that the birds eat a slightly imperfect mimic more often than a perfect one. Wild birds thus behave in a way which could maintain Batesian mimicry and promote its gradual evolution in their natural prey.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of York, England


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation