Mimicry Cycles, Traps, and Chains: The Coevolution of Toucan and Kiskadee Mimicry

TitleMimicry Cycles, Traps, and Chains: The Coevolution of Toucan and Kiskadee Mimicry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPrum R.O, Samuelson L.
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Start Page753

 Interspecific social dominance mimicry (ISDM) is a form

of social parasitism in which a subordinate species evolves to mimic

and deceive a dominant interference competitor in order to avoid

attack by the dominant species. ISDM has been proposed to result

in (1) antagonistic coevolutionary arms races in appearance between

the model and the mimic (e.g., Ramphastos toucans) and (2) the evolution

of complexes of multiple species converging on a common visual

appearance (e.g., kiskadee flycatchers). We present evolutionary

games of antagonistic coevolution in appearance between pairs and

triplets of sympatric species under interference competition.We identify

conditions for the existence and stability of (1) coevolutionary

mimicry cycles in appearance between evader and pursuer strategies

of models andmimics, (2)mimicry chains in which three or more species

are coevolutionarily entrained to evolve a single common appearance

despite differences in their costs and benefits, and (3) mimicry

traps in which a subdominant species is evolutionarily constrained

from evading mimicry by a third, subordinate mimic species.Mimicry

cycles will result in the evolutionary divergence of models and mimics

from their ancestral phenotypes. The hierarchical evolutionary dynamics

of ISDM traps and chains resemble Müllerian mimicry with

variable costs to toxicity.