Halette Bourdon November 29, 2019 Fruit
Müllerian mimicry was first described by pioneering naturalist Fritz Muller. When a distasteful animal comes to resemble a more common distasteful animal, natural selection favors individuals that even very slightly better resemble the target. For example, many species of stinging wasp and bee are similarly colored black and yellow. Muller’s explanation of the mechanism for this was one of the first uses of mathematics in biology. He argued that a predator, such as a young bird, must attack at least one insect, say a wasp, to learn that the black and yellow colors mean a stinging insect. If bees were differently colored, the young bird would have to attack one of them also. But when bees and wasps resemble each other, the young bird need only attack one from the whole group to learn to avoid all of them. So, fewer bees are attacked if they mimic wasps; the same applies to wasps that mimic bees. The result is mutual resemblance for mutual protection.
Examples of culinary ”vegetables” and nuts that are botanically fruit include corn, biscuits (e.g., cucumber, pumpkin, and squash), eggplant, legumes (beans, peanuts, and peas), sweet pepper, and tomato. In addition, some spices, such as allspice and chili pepper, are fruits, botanically speaking. In contrast, rhubarb is often referred to as a fruit, because it is used to make sweet desserts such as pies, though only the petiole (leaf stalk) of the rhubarb plant is edible, and edible gymnosperm seeds are often given fruit names, e.g., ginkgo nuts and pine nuts.
Bio luminescence is the production of light, such as by the photosensor of marine animals, and the tails of glow-worms and fireflies. Bio luminescence, like other forms of metabolism, releases energy derived from the chemical energy of food. A pigment, luciferin is catalysed by the enzyme luciferase to react with oxygen, releasing light. Comb jellies such as Euphemisms are bio luminescent, creating blue and green light, especially when stressed; when disturbed, they secrete an ink which luminescence in the same colors. Since comb jellies are not very sensitive to light, their bio luminescence is unlikely to be used to signal to other members of the same species (e.g. to attract mates or repel rivals); more likely, the light helps to distract predators or parasites. Some species of squid have light-producing organs (photophores) scattered all over their undersides that create a sparkling glow. This provides counter-illumination camouflage, preventing the animal from appearing as a dark shape when seen from below. Some anglerfish of the deep sea, where it is too dark to hunt by sight, contain symbiotic bacteria in the ’bait’ on their ’fishing rods’. These emit light to attract prey.
Batesian mimicry was first described by pioneering naturalist Henry W. Bates. When an edible prey animal comes to resemble, even slightly, a distasteful animal, natural selection favors those individuals that even very slightly better resemble the distasteful species. This is because even a small degree of protection reduces prediction and increases the chance that an individual mimic will survive and reproduce. For example, many species of hover fly are colored black and yellow like bees, and are in consequence avoided by birds (and people).
There are several separate reasons why animals have evolved colors. Camouflage enables an animal to remain hidden from view. Animals use color to advertise services such as cleaning to animals of other species; to signal their sexual status to other members of the same species; and in mimicry, taking advantage of the warning coloration of another species. Some animals use flashes of color to divert attacks by startling predators. Zebras may possibly use motion dazzle, confusing a predator’s attack by moving a bold pattern rapidly. Some animals are colored for physical protection, with pigments in the skin to protect against sunburn, while some frogs can lighten or darken their skin for temperature regulation. Finally, animals can be colored incidentally. For example, blood is red because the heme pigment needed to carry oxygen is red. Animals colored in these ways can have striking natural patterns.
Darwin explained such male-female differences in his theory of sexual selection in his book The Descent of Man. Once the females begin to select males according to any particular characteristic, such as a long tail or a colored crest, that characteristic is emphasized more and more in the males. Eventually all the males will have the characteristics that the females are sexually selecting for, as only those males can reproduce. This mechanism is powerful enough to create features that are strongly disadvantageous to the males in other ways. For example, some male birds of paradise have wing or tail streamers that are so long that they impede flight, while their brilliant colors may make the males more vulnerable to predators. In the extreme, sexual selection may drive species to extinction, as has been argued for the enormous horns of the male Irish elk, which may have made it difficult for mature males to move and feed.
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