A recent paper, “Mimics here and there, but not everywhere: Müllerian mimicry in Ceroglossus ground beetles,” published in Biology Letters by U-M graduate student Carlos Muñoz-Ramirez and Professor Lacey Knowles, made the cover.
“Müllerian mimicry is a textbook example of natural selection where warningly colored species evolve to resemble each other to reduce predation,” explained Muñoz-Ramirez. “Although the main emphasis to study this type of systems has been put on the spectacular resemblance among species, here we uncover a new system – the ground beetle genus Ceroglossus – which has remarkable variation in the degree of convergence across geographic areas. In other words, there are areas where species share very similar body coloration, while in other areas species differ in their coloration.
“This particular characteristic of Ceroglossus species may provide a good opportunity to investigate mimicry under conditions that are less common in other systems and shed light on factors that prevent rather than favor the evolution of mimicry. What are the ingredients missing in the recipe for mimicry or under what circumstances mimicry can or cannot evolve are some of the important questions that can be investigated with this magnificent group of brightly colored South American beetles.”
Colleagues at the University of Windsor coauthored the paper, which was published Sept. 27, 2016.