Independent Research: Cathryn Morrison (Villanova University)

cathymorrisonThe role of mimicry within congruencies amongst Hypoplectrus spp. (Hamlets) and herbivorous fish in Bonaire.

Abstract: Mimetic behavior signifies organisms evolving shared attributes despite different phylogeny. Mimicry exists in marine ecosystems however little evidence has been collected, supporting each mimetic claim. Relationships in mimicry focus on the characteristics of mimics and models. Focusing on the Hypoplectrus genus, hamlets, as aggressive mimics, behavioral shifts should occur between predation periods and midday reef interactions. For mimicry to occur, five requirements must be observed: similar appearance and size, mimic/model abundance, geographic locality, behavioral shifts of the mimic and observed benefits. Using a visual census, the distribution of each mimic and model will be surveyed. Behaviors amongst mimetic pairs will be video recorded. Finding evidence of a Hypoplectrus spp. directly benefiting from mimicry, although difficult, would be greatly significant to better understand mimicry in predators.

Curious about Hamlet mimicry? Cathy will present her work during a public lecture on April 29, 18:30-21:00 at CIEE RSB.

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