Taking a Hit: Resistance to Handling in Model-Mimic Insect Complexes

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  • Aposematism has been hypothesised to co-occur with an improved ability to survive being handled by a predator with negligible damage. The current literature on this "resistance to handling" is reviewed, including anecdotal accounts, experimental evidence and bio-physical considerations. The relationship between resistance to handling and Batesian mimicry is tested through two experiments on field-caught specimens. The first evaluates the ability of specimens to survive a given amount of compressive force using the successive application of increasing weights, comparing mimics (Diptera: Syrphidae) to non-mimics (non-syrphid Diptera) and their models (Hymenoptera). The second experiment measures the force required to deform an insect by a given proportion. Hymenopterans were the most resistant group, syrphid flies the least, and non-syrphid dipterans intermediate between the two. In all groups, both larger body size and a greater resistance to deformation were correlated with higher kill weights, while mimicry status and mimetic fidelity were not.

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  • Copyright © 2022 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2022


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