Definition of Müllerian mimicry in US English:

Müllerian mimicry


  • A form of mimicry in which two or more noxious animals develop similar appearances as a shared protective device, the theory being that if a predator learns to avoid one of the noxious species, it will avoid the mimic species as well.

    Compare with Batesian mimicry
    • ‘This is largely due to their bright wing-color patterns and Müllerian mimicry among species.’
    • ‘I might add that in Mullerian mimicry, often there are entire groups of species from many families and genera that are all individually unpalatable for some reason, and have all converged on the same appearance.’
    • ‘These sister species are sympatric across much of Central and Andean South America below 1500 m; both are unpalatable and warningly colored, and their speciation has been accompanied by a shift in Müllerian mimicry.’
    • ‘To measure natural selection generated by Müllerian mimicry, I exploited the unusual polymorphism of Heliconius cydno (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae).’


Late 19th century: named after Johann F. T. Müller (1821–97), German zoologist.


Müllerian mimicry