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Mimicry

DWhatley

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The "mimic" octopus has sparked many discussions about ceph's ability/intent to mimic other animals for protection. I am starting this thread to collect articles about marine mimicry as a general topic for members interested in reading more on the subject.

Anna DeLoach keeps a web blog on her photography travels with Ned and recently did some photo diving in Indonesia where they observed a sole "mimicing" a flatworm. Before blogging the encounter she did some web research and located this 2005 publication, A Review of Mimicry in Marine Fishes by John E. Randall.

Abstract:
John E. Randall (2005) A review of mimicry in marine fishes. Zoological Studies 44(3): 299-328. The terms
protective resemblance, Batesian mimicry, Müllerian mimicry, aggressive mimicry, and social mimicry are
defined. Color illustrations are given for 20 examples of protective resemblance in marine fishes. Ninety-eight
cases of mimicry in marine fishes are discussed, and 104 color illustrations are presented in support of 56 of
these. The explanation for the mimicry of the juvenile surgeonfish Acanthurus pyroferus by the angelfish
Centropyge vrolikii, based on different food habits of the mimic, model, and the territorial damselfish
Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus, is questioned. http://www.sinica.edu.tw/Journals/44.3/299.pdf

The article does not mention inverts or cephs but TONMO has discussion about an article showing a fish mimicing an octopus (Thales' blog entry on the observation) and this paragraph brought that siting to mind:

Mahadevan and Nagappan Nayar (1965) observed the yellow and black-barred juvenile
carangid fish Gnathanodon speciosus closely associated with a sea snake of the same color pattern
in southeastern India. When approached, the fish moved closer to the body of the snake, literally
hugging the body. They added that it was difficult to see the fish at first sight because its color
pattern blended with that of the snake. It should be noted, however, that juveniles of G. speciosus
often swim at the flank of large bony fishes or ride the bow wave of sharks.
 
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DWhatley, great idea!

For anyone interested in octopus mimicry, below are the key publications I've found on the subject. I've been looking into the subject for awhile now. The famous "mimic octopus" was first reported in 2001 and first scientifically named in 2005 by Mark Norman. There have been many reports of it mimicking a great variety of marine life. The challenge, however, is figuring out how to determine if an animal is consciously trying to imitate another animal. It is challenging to test the claims made on the mimic octopus without a good way to experimentally determine mimicry...

But for now it sure is fun to see and hear all these reports! The "mimic octopus" (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is not the only octopus reported to mimic, however. Wonderpus photogenicus has also been reported as a mimic. Roger Hanlon and his lab reported another species of octopus engaging in flatfish mimicry in the Atlantic ocean too!

The publications behind all this are below.

Hanlon, R. T., Conroy, L.-anne, & Forsythe, J. W. (2008). Mimicry and foraging behaviour of two tropical sand-flat octopus species off North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 93, 23-38.

Hanlon, R. T., Forsythe, J. W., & Joneschild, D. E. (1999). Crypsis, conspicuousness, mimicry and polyphenism as antipredator defences of foraging octopuses on Indo-Pacific coral reefs , with a method of quantifying crypsis from video tapes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 66, 1-22.

Hanlon, R. T., Watson, A. C., & Barbosa, A. (2010). A “Mimic Octopus” in the Atlantic: Flatfish mimicry and camouflage by Macrotritopus defilippi. Biological Bulletin, 218, 15-24.

Krajewski, J. P., Bonaldo, R. M., Sazima, C., & Sazima, I. (2009). Octopus mimicking its follower reef fish. Journal of Natural History, 43, 185-190.

Norman, M. D., Finn, J., & Tregenza, T. (2001). Dynamic mimicry in an Indo-Malayan octopus. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 268, 1755-1758.

Norman, M. D., & Hochberg, F. G. (2005). The “Mimic Octopus” (Thaumoctopus mimicus n. gen. et sp.), a new octopus from the tropical Indo-West Pacific (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Molluscan Research, 25, 57–70.
 

Neogonodactylus

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Rocha, L. A., R. Ross and G. Kopp. 2012. Opportunistic mimicry by a Jawfish. Coral Reefs, 31:285.

The jawfish - mimic octopus association that Rich mentioned was just published this week in Coral Reefs.

Roy
 
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And for someone arriving at this thread because of encountering the phenomenon of the mimic octopus in popular culture, it's worthwhile to note where a big boost came from:

From this comic strip.

I've captured an image of the Coral Reefs article for convenience:
 

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DWhatley

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I think the most unusual aspect of Thaumoctopus mimicus is not so much that it mimics something else but the number of animals it is supposed to mimic (as caricatured by Level_Head's poster).
 
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The jawfish - mimic octopus association is interesting! It's second degree mimicry: one mimic is mimicking another mimic, neither of which are poisonous or dangerous yet both are evading predation! I wonder how many degrees of separation you could get from an actual dangerous animal. Does anybody know any other models of 2+ degree mimicry?
 

GPO87

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I think this thread is a great idea D! I did a little digging and found this (rather lengthy) paper , by John Randall, on mimicry in fishes. Now it does focus both on mimicry or other animals and camoflage, so you have to do some skimming to find the relevent information. It has some fantastic color photos in it, and is quite an interesting read. (I know it's not about cephs, but you did say "general marine mimicry")
 

Thales

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cephbirk;189118 said:
The jawfish - mimic octopus association is interesting! It's second degree mimicry: one mimic is mimicking another mimic, neither of which are poisonous or dangerous yet both are evading predation! I wonder how many degrees of separation you could get from an actual dangerous animal. Does anybody know any other models of 2+ degree mimicry?

The Jawfish is a Mimic? We called it opportunistic mimicry because that is what the jawfish seems to look like all the time.
 

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