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Journal Article

The evolution and ecology of masquerade

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Skelhorn, J., Rowland, H. M., & Ruxton, G. D. (2010). The evolution and ecology of masquerade. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 99(1), 1-8. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2009.01347.x.

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Many organisms appear to mimic inanimate objects such as twigs, leaves, stones, and bird droppings. Such adaptations are considered to have evolved because their bearers are misidentified as either inedible objects by their predators, or as innocuous objects by their prey. In the past, this phenomenon has been classified by some as Batesian mimicry and by others as crypsis, but now is considered to be conceptually different from both, and has been termed 'masquerade'. Despite the debate over how to classify masquerade, this phenomenon has received little attention from evolutionary biologists. Here, we discuss the limited empirical evidence supporting the idea that masquerade functions to cause misidentification of organisms, provide a testable definition of masquerade, and suggest how masquerade evolved and under what ecological conditions. (C) 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 99, 1-8.