Mimicry revisited

April 7, 1999
From: Mike Miller

Dear Bill,

Sometimes in this business of branching, it is not always easy to distinguish the hunter from the hunted at first glance.  As for example, in the pic attached you will find the right frame occupied by Hypselodoris ghiselini, a sea slug noted for its secretion of obnoxious chemicals for defence purposes.  In the left frame will be found Navanax inermis, a voracious predator of other branchs that tracks the potential victim's slime trail. 

Both pictures recorded at Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California during a recent field trip.


Mike Miller

Miller, M.D., 1999 (Apr 7) Mimicry revisited. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/759

Dear Mike,
Thanks for the pics. By chance while I was looking through Dave Behrens Pacific Coast Nudibranchs to check on the spelling of 'ghiselini' I came across his picture of Polycera alabe which seems to be remarkably similar in colour to the other two species. It also seems to have a similar distribution.

It seems that Navanax inermis is quite variable in colour. In the other photo I have posted it has a striped pattern.

Do you know if Navanax and H. ghiselini have similar distributions? if your suggestion is that Navanax is mimicking the nasty tasting H. ghiselini it would be nice if their distributions overlapped and N. inermis only had the spotted pattern where it coincided with H. ghiselini - but I guess that would just be wishful thinking on my part.

Thanks again,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Apr 7). Comment on Mimicry revisited by Mike Miller. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/759



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