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Researchers solve Darwin's evolution of mimicry puzzle

Canadian researchers say that large animals are better at mimicking dangerous species than smaller ones, in order to avoid being eaten by predators.

The reason, they say, is that larger animals make for a more substantial meal and so they have had to evolve better ways to fend off predators.

The finding, published in the Journal Nature, helps solve a long-standing puzzle in biology: why some species bother to try to disguise themselves when they do such a bad job of it.

Researchers at Carlton University studied 81 different species of hoverfly, which to varying degrees mimic bees and wasps.

The first sound in this clip is a wasp, followed by the sound of a hoverfly mimicking a wasp.

  • 21 Mar 2012