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Free Content Examples of Mimicry and Protective Resemblance in Tropical Marine Fishes

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Definitions of the terms mimicry and protective resemblance are given, and known examples of mimicry in fishes are discussed.

Further observations were made on the mimicry of the wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum, by the blenny, Hemiemblemaria simulus in Florida.

A strong case is made for the mimicry of the wrasse Labroides dimidiatus by the blenny Aspidontus taeniatus, based on observations of these fishes in the Society Islands. L. dimidiatus feeds primarily on crustacean ectoparasites of other fishes, including predaceous species. A. taeniatus closely resembles dimidiatus, swims with its pectoral fins like a wrasse, and feeds in part by tearing pieces from the fins of other fishes.

The striking similarity of the young of the surgeonfish Acanthurus pyroferus to the gaudily colored angelfish Centropyge flavissimus would seem best explained in terms of mimicry; however, a biological basis remains to be found.

The resemblance of the serranid fish Hypoplectrus gemma to the damselfish Chromis cyanea in Florida is discussed as a possible case of mimicry. Mention is made of the superficial resemblance of other species of Hypoplectrus to damselfishes and surgeonfishes in the Virgin Islands.

Examples of protective resemblance involving juvenile fishes are presented.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1960-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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