Juvenile grunt (Haemulidae) mimicking a venomous leatherjacket (Carangidae), with a summary of Batesian mimicry in marine fishes

Ivan Sazima

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 61-68, Volume 6, Issue 2 – November 2002


A presumed example of facultative Batesian mimicry between a grunt and a leatherjacket is described from tidal streams and mangrove zones in south-eastern Brazil. While moving over open areas or when threatened, juvenile Pomadasys ramosus (Haemulidae) closely resemble, and behave like, their presumed venomous model, juvenile Oligoplites palometa (Carangidae), a species with venom glands in its dorsal and anal spines. A summary of 24 published examples of Batesian mimicry in marine fishes shows that most species (83.3%) mimic venomous models, three species (12.5%) imitate poisonous models and only one species (4.1%) mimics a model which is neither venomous nor poisonous.

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