In müllerian mimicry, equally defended species share a colouration pattern to warn off predators. Because velvet ants, which are actually wingless wasps, can inflict a very painful sting, they are a great system to study this natural phenomenon. This study will help expand our breadth of knowledge on the occurrence of mimicry complexes in nature and will provide insights on the evolution of mimicry in these charismatic insects.
In this mimicry game, as a human, we want you to take on the role of a predator, such as a bird predator ready to eat some insects. From the perspective of a predator what challenges as a predator would you face in deciding whether or not to feed on an insect? Some very interesting discoveries have been made by studying mimicry and we hope you’ll enjoy this activity to help scientists discover more about mimicry in insects.