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ISDM - interspecific social dominance mimicry





Ankhanu
I came across a post with this article on reddit earlier on a woodpecker species mimics two other larger species avoiding interspecific conflict, a form of mimicry I'd not read about before - ISDM, interspecific social dominance mimicry. I've had an interest in crypsis and mimicry systems for many years, but this was the first I'd heard of this particular form.

The basic idea is that a weaker competitor species, perhaps it is smaller as in this case, evolves to resemble a stronger competitor. The resemblance offers the mimic protection from the stronger competitor, as in many cases a species will be less hostile towards conspecifics than those of another species, saving energy and avoiding injury. By resembling a stronger competitor, the weaker competitor can access resources in the same areas as the stronger competitor without being driven off or attacked.
As I mentioned, this is a new concept to me, though it makes a lot of sense. I still have a bit of literature searching to do on the subject.

In the case of the above paper, the discovery comes in the form of a phylogenetic analysis of three woodpecker species, including the helmeted woodpecker (Dryocopus galeatus, the smaller species, and a larger, more aggressive species, D. lineatus. The genetic analysis indicates that D. galeatus has been erroneously classified in its genus based upon morphological features... how much it visually resembles other species of Dryocopus, but it genetically belongs in a distantly related genus, Celeus, which is also supported by features of its vocalizations. The ecology of the species isn't well enough known to go much further into ideas of ISDM with the species, however.


Quote:
Dryocopus galeatus (left) appears remarkably similar to Dryocopus lineatus erythrops (center) and Campephilus robustus (right), but it’s only a distant relative. Image credits: K. Zimmer and R.J. Moller.



The paper, which will be published in the Auk in September, is available in a pre-published state here - http://biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2015/07/31/023663.full.pdf
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