CIE Seminar Series – 2021: Not the sincerest form of flattery: the puzzle of imperfect Batesian mimicry

SPEAKER: Dr Tom Reader, School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK.

DATE & TIME: Thursday, 10th June 2021 @ 4pm.

LOCATION: Seminar to be streamed via Zoom. Click HERE to connect (Meeting ID: 856 2071 9818, Password: 91973758).

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Batesian mimicry, where palatable prey species deceive predators by resembling defended or unpalatable species, provides some exquisite examples of evolution by natural selection. However, many conspicuous mimics are far from perfect imitations of their supposed models. So why have they not evolved to be better?

Using hoverflies as a model system, I will discuss my various attempts over the past decade to characterise patterns of variation in mimetic accuracy among and within species, seeking evidence to support hypotheses that seek to explain imperfect mimicry.

I will also describe my current work using 3D printing and Virtual Reality simulations as experimental tools to understand variation in mimetic phenotypes.


I am an Associate Professor in Ecology at the University of Nottingham. My research focusses on the ecological and behavioural forces shaping the evolution of animal signals.

I have a particular interest in polymorphic and mimetic colour patterns, especially in insects.

For more information click HERE.

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Thanking you in advance!

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