Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry used by some harmless species that have evolved to mimic the warning signs of a pest species in order to defend themselves against a predator of both.
The term Batesian mimicry takes its name from the English naturalist (Leicester 1825 – London 1892), following his work on butterflies in the rain forests of Brazil.
Batesian mimicry is one of the forms of mimicry used by living beings but there are many other forms, some very similar in principle, others very different. Batesian mimicry is often opposed to Mullerian mimicry, which is a mutually beneficial form of convergence between two or more harmful species.
Typical examples of Batesian mimicry are those of harmless diptera imitating dangerous hymenoptera; or remember the harmless butterfly Papilio dardanus, whose females imitate various species of inedible butterflies of the genera Amaris and Danaus.
Some mimetic populations have evolved multiple forms (polymorphism), allowing them to imitate several different models and therefore to obtain greater protection. Batesian mimicry is not always perfect. Various explanations have been proposed for this, including limitations in cognition of predators.
While visual cues have attracted most studies, Batesian mimicry can use other forms such as deception of all the senses; some moths mimic the warning signals of ultrasound sent by unpleasant moths to beat predators, creating a Batesian auditory mimicry.