A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Tephritid Flies Mimic Spider Predators

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Science  17 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4799, pp. 308-310
DOI: 10.1126/science.236.4799.308


Mimicry where prey resemble predators to avoid predation is unusual. Snowberry flies, Rhagoletis zephyria Snow, possess striped wing patterns that resemble the legs of jumping spiders. Observations and comparisons of responses of the jumping spider Salticus scenicus (Clerck) to conspecifics, snowberry flies, and other prey flies showed that snowberry flies can avoid predation by jumping spiders through spider mimicry. The mimicry effect was decreased by obliterating snowberry fly wing stripes.