Just received an interesting e-mail from Dr. Eugene Morton, head of the Hemlock Hill Biological Research Station outside Cambridge Springs, Pa. He recently read that the viceroy is NOT a mimic of the monarch, as he so believed for decades!
The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a member of a Müllerian complex with the Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) in shared coloration patterns and display behavior. A bit about Müllerian mimicry- what is it? According to Wikipedia, it describes a situation where two or more species have very similar warning signals and both share the common anti-predation attribute- they're unpalatable. A scientists named Dr. Henry Bates questioned how or why this mimicry existed. If both butterfly species were harmful, then why did one need to mimic another? The German naturalist Fritz Müller put forward the first explanation for this phenomenon: If two species were confused with one another by a common predator, individuals in both would be more likely to survive.
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We must continue to learn, and to discard the untruth...