Mimetic behavior signifies organisms evolving to share behaviors and a common resemblance despite different phylogeny. Relationships in mimicry rely on the characteristics of mimics and models: appearance and size, vertical and geographical distribution, mimic to model abundance, behavioral shifts of the mimic and observed benefits. Using these criteria, species from the Hypoplectrus genus (hamlets) were analyzed as potential aggressive mimics. Using a visual census, the distribution of each mimic and model were surveyed and behaviors of individuals within the mimetic pairs were video recorded. There was 80-94% difference between the population densities of two potential mimetic pairs: Hypoplectrus nigricans (black hamlet) and Stegastes adustus, (dusky damselfish) and Hypoplectrus unicolor (butter hamlet) and Chaetodon capistratus (foureye butterflyfish). Data collected for the potential mimetic pair, Hypoplectrus chlorurus (yellowtail hamlet) and Microspathodon chyrsurus (yellowtail damselfish) does not support the hypothesis because the population density of the supposed mimic was higher than that of the potential model. In addition, for all studied pairs, no notable behavioral shifts were observed, and therefore whether the studied pairs are cases of mimicry is still a question.
This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XVII (Spring 2015)19: 43-50 from CIEE Bonaire.