Insect Mimicry Collection 

Mimicry is a superficial resemblance of one organism to another that secures it a selective advantage or protection from predators. Many potential prey species utilize aposematism (bright colors) to warn a potential predator that they are chemically defended and distasteful. A well-known example is the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) where caterpillars which eat toxic milkweed and exhibit bright colors as caterpillars and adults. 

Knowing some insects are unpalatable or dangerous is a tough enough challenge to overcome as a hungry predator. When more than one species is unpalatable or dangerous and they look similar, it becomes even more confusing! This phenomenon is known as Müllerian mimicry. Some examples of insects that practice müllerian mimicry are the monarch and viceroy butterfly, which both exhibit unpalatable qualities. The most well-recognized müllerian mimics of all though are the neotropical butterflies in the genus Heliconius

Even though insects can be poisonous/dangerous, many more are not. To avoid being eaten, some insects have taken the route of the doppelganger. When an insect is not poisonous/dangerous, but looks like an insect that is, this is called Batesian mimicry. Common examples include hover flies and day flying moths that can mimic wasps. 

This insect mimicry kit includes 27 species of common insect mimicry examples found within the BioQuipbugs collection. This beneficial kit serves as a wonderful teaching resource for those learning about the vast diversity of insect mimicry or an excellent reference for personal collections. 

Specimens come either pinned or preserved in alcohol in clear, archival-quality glass vials with poly-seal caps to prevent evaporation. All specimens are sent with alcohol-proof, typed specimen data labels, and species identification tags. Pinned kits are sold in riker-style frames to protect the specimens while being handled, but still allow their easy viewing by students.

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Attribute: John Flannery from Richmond County, North Carolina, USA



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