3 years ago

Receiver-error in deception, including mimicry: making the leap from inter- to intraspecific domains

Paul J. Weldon
The present study examines the constructs of ‘deception’ and ‘mimicry’ and describes how they are related as errors committed by signal receivers, citing parallels in inter- and intraspecific interactions. Previous authors have suggested that deception embraces two types of receiver-error that can be likened to type I and type II errors encountered in statistical tests of the null hypothesis: responses to misinterpreted cues (type I error: embracing a non-existent effect) and failed responses to concealed traits of interest or undetected opportunities (type II error: failing to detect a real effect). The present study builds upon these suggestions, co-opting the terms ‘type I and type II receiver-errors’ to denote the aforementioned kinds of deception. Type I receiver-errors occur in many cases of Batesian mimicry, bluffing, and intersexual mimicry, where members of one sex mimic members of the opposite sex. Type II receiver-errors are illustrated by prey and predator crypsis and some covert (‘sneaky’) mating strategies. A third kind of receiver-error, designated type II–I, occurs when organisms are misidentified contingent upon the concealment of tell-tale features, such as with cephalopods that hide select arms in visual mimetic displays. The occurrence of advantages and disadvantages for signallers and signal receivers in inter- and intraspecific deception, and in their evolutionary repercussions, is discussed. Advergence, where deceptive signallers evolve increased resemblance to honest signallers, and divergence, where honest signallers become distinct from deceptive signallers, may arise from the dynamical interactions between signallers and signal receivers. Signal senders, by definition, benefit from deception. Deceived signal receivers also may benefit from some, perhaps many, interactions. Deception and evolutionary responses to deception are abundantly represented in both inter- and intraspecific domains.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/bij.12905

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