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What is the difference between mimicry and camouflage?
Question Date: 2013-09-11
Answer 1:

Mimicry and camouflage are similar. Both are types of shapes and colors that trick animals. Camouflage hides an animal (or something else). If an animal matches its background, it is harder to see. If it has markings that break up its outline, it is even more difficult to see. Insects are great at this because their outer covering (exoskeleton) can have all sorts of weird shapes and colors.

Mimicry is when an animal looks like something else that is meant to be seen (not hidden). For example, a harmless moth might look like a dangerous wasp. A tasty butterfly may look like one that is full of nasty toxins. The animal is not protected by hiding, it is protected by being mistaken for something a predator will avoid because it’s dangerous or tastes bad.

Another kind of mimicry is when different animals that are all poisonous all look alike. For example, how honeybees, wasps, and other stinging insects all have yellow and black stripes. Why would a wasp be more likely to survive if it looked like other stinging insects?

There are other kinds of mimicry that you may want to explore. The world is way more amazing than we can imagine.

I hope you are thinking about a career in animal biology because you are thinking like a scientist.

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Mimicry is where an animal is trying to look like something else that is obvious but uninteresting or undesirable, while camouflage is an animal trying to blend in with its surroundings and not appear obvious.

A viceroy butterfly looking like a monarch butterfly is mimicry: the viceroy still looks like a butterfly and is in fact brightly colored, but it looks like a monarch, and monarchs are poisonous, so eating it could be bad if you don't know what it is.

A green stink bug that is trying to look like part of a leaf is camouflage, however; you wouldn't even notice that it's there.

Answer 3:

Mimicry is when one species "mimics" another species in terms of sound, appearance, smell, behavior, or location to protect itself.

Camouflage is when a species changes to resemble its surroundings to protect itself.

Camouflage can be considered a visual mimicry. When a chameleon changes color and camouflages in its surroundings so that its prey can't spot it easily. There are many animals which mimic their surroundings or another species in the vicinity. Some examples are butterflies, beetles, some fish, and some amphibians.

Answer 4:

Both mimicry and camouflage are forms of defense for a species. Camoflauge is when a species can change their colors or patterns to match its environment to blend in, like a chameleon!

And mimicry is when a harmless creature makes itself look dangerous. They "mimic" a more dangerous species and it makes other animals afraid to eat them. For example, think of a puffer fish!

So camouflage is kind of like wearing camo, you just try to blend in. And mimicry is when you try to make yourself look like something else more threatening.

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