Models and Mimics: An Excerpt from Natural Attraction

Tajen by my son-in-law Zach.
Taken by my son-in-law Zach.

Excerpt from Natural Attraction

Genus Ithomiinae A group of butterflies found in neotropical regions and studied by Bates as he explained biological mimicry. These small butterflies have stark black markings with bright orange, yellow, and/or blue coloring. Toxic or unpalatable to birds. The Model.

Leptalis nehemia A neotropical butterfly in the Pieridae (cabbage butterfly) group, also   studied by Bates. Although tasty, this little one resembles the Ithomiinae and thus avoids predation. The Mimic.

Complex North American examples of mimicry include the Monarch (Danaus plexippus, the Model) and the Viceroy (Limenitis archippus, the Mimic). This mimicry is complex because the Mimic is a bit bad tasting; not helpless, really.

At the next rehearsal of the sideshow, Madame made an announcement.

“We need a narrative. We will be working from a script in the future.” She put her hand to her forehead. She was holding a sheaf of paper. “Ah dear, me. Shakespeare had it easy. I’m overwhelmed with responsibility but even with my day-to-day pressures, I managed to create a masterpiece. It’s all an audience could want. Not too intellectual. Simple words. I incorporated the freaks and mining. It’s a melodrama with a sad ending and a fine cautionary moral. We’ll sell handkerchiefs to accompany it. I have it here. You must study it and perform it tomorrow evening.”

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