Batesian Mimicry: Selective Advantage of Color Pattern

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Science  18 Feb 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4279, pp. 681-683
DOI: 10.1126/science.195.4279.681


Field studies of releases and recaptures of diurnal moths painted with yellow to resemble the edible tiger swallowtail and of black moths that resemble a toxic species of swallowtail produced these results: (i) A greater proportion of the black moths were recaptured; (ii) daily trapping for a week after each release showed that the black moths survived longer than the yellow-painted moths; (iii) an analysis of wing injuries shows that most attacks can be attributed to birds and that the yellow-painted moths were attacked more often, more vigorously, or more persistently than the black moths. These results are interpreted as showing a greater predation pressure on the yellow-painted than on the black moths and, therefore, as confirming the Batesian theory of mimicry.