Current Zoology(formerly Acta Zoologica Sinica), 2012, 58(4): 620 - 629
How spiders practice aggressive and Batesian mimicry
Ximena J. NELSON, Robert R. JACKSON
S c h o o l o f B i o l o g i c a l S c i e n c e s , U n i v e r s i t y o f C a n t e r b u r y , N e w Z e a l a n d
To understand communication, the interests of the sender and the receiver/s of signals should be considered separately. When our goal is to understand the adaptive significance of specific responses to specific signals by the receiver, questions about signal information are useful. However, when our goal is to understand the adaptive significance to the sender of generating a signal, it may be better to envisage the receiver’s response to signals as part of the sender’s extended phenotype. By making signals, a sender interfaces with the receiver’s model of the world and indirectly manipulates its behaviour. This is especially clear in cases of mimicry, where animals use deceptive signals that indirectly manipulate the behaviour of receivers. Many animals adopt Batesian mimicry to deceive their predators, or aggressive mimicry to deceive their prey. We review examples from the literature on spiders to illustrate how these phenomena, traditionally thought of as distinct, can become entangled in a web of lies [Current Zoology 58 (4): 620–629, 2012].