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Friday Cephalopod: Everyone wants to be one of the cool kids

Look at this: no originality at all. The wanna-bes and poseurs all have to dress up in their idol’s fashions, even if it is cross-phylum dressing.

(via NatGeo)

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. says

    Just like Martin Luther (reportedly) thought that the devil shouldn’t have all of the good music, I can’t see why invertebrates ought to have all of the cool colors and stripes.

    So that’s actually me mimicking a jawfish mimicking a mimic octopus mimicking a sea snake. They can’t sue if they can’t use language.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Brownian says

    So that’s actually me mimicking a jawfish mimicking a mimic octopus mimicking a sea snake.

    I was going to ask “Who mimics the mimics”, but now I see it’s Glen.

  3. w00dview says

    Ah teleosts, by far my favourite group of vertebrates. Adaptable, varied, bizarre and can exploit whatever food source there is in an aquatic environment. Mix them with my favourite cephalopod and you get awesomeness.

    The paper which describes this interaction says that this species of jawfish only mimics the octopus in areas where they coexist. While that is stating the obvious, the mimic octopus occurs in the Indo-Malay region, the black marbled jawfish has a distribution range from Japan to Australia. This suggest that this mimicry is opportunistic, cool stuff.

  4. says

    While that is stating the obvious, the mimic octopus occurs in the Indo-Malay region,

    Actually it isn’t obvious really. It would be possible for it to be an incidental mimicry if we saw it in non-overlaping areas. The fact that it is only in over-laping ones suggests that it is indeed the octopus that is being mimicked and not a third object!

  5. Irene Delse says

    Strategies to reduce your attractivity to predators:

    A) Be poisonous. (Doesn’t do much for your survival if the predator only comes to realise its error after eating you.)

    B) Be poisonous and advertise it with brightly coloured patterns. (More efficient, but expensive in genetic and metabolic resources.)

    C) Skip the poison, just use a similar pattern to that of a species not attractive to predators. (Sounds good, except that now you’re limited by the look you’re born with. What if you’re mimicking a species that’s not common in your environment because of genetic drift, or climate change, or overfishing, or whatever? The local predators won’t have a clue and you’ll risk getting eaten.)

    D) Change patterns to model your appearance on the local species that predators tend to avoid, for some reason. (May be the most complicated at the cellular and molecular level, but both efficient and versatile. Works for mimics of non-poisonous species too. Added bonus: no phylum limit!)

    Sounds safe, unless of course your predators are those pesky Homo sapiens with their stereo vision and high pattern recognition.

  6. says

    I’m attempting to mimic a Pharyngula commenter who has something insightful and witty to add:

    ……………..

    *sigh*

    I fail as a mimic and a vertebrate.

  7. Brownian says

    I’m attempting to mimic a Pharyngula commenter who has something insightful and witty to add:

    That’s a pretty tall order. I avoid the issue by mimicking a Pharyngula commenter who has something smartassed and profane to add. Most of the time I simply aim for one or the other.

  8. laurentweppe says

    Sounds safe, unless of course your predators are those pesky Homo sapiens with their stereo vision and high pattern recognition.

    That’s because Homo Sapiens went for methods E:
    Evolve a big brain, cheat by inventing tools which will always make you the strongest kid on the block, then take over the top of the food chain by either exterminating or domesticating anyone who got a shot at eating you Extremely efficient, although whether it can remain so on the long term as yet to be ascertained, as being the almighty super-predator seems to give the species a tendancy to slaughter itself, exhaust its ressources and screw up its own ecological niche.

  9. billyjoe says

    I’m amazed everyone picked up on the fact that this is an example of mimicry of mimicry.

  10. craigore says

    @Irene,
    “Sounds safe, unless of course your predators are those pesky Homo sapiens with their stereo vision and high pattern recognition.”

    also we pesky anthropos make the best mimics. we have become quite studied through intense ongoing documentation and manipulation of the environment to figure out what it takes to succeed at it.