So, what’s up with mimicry, exactly?
For example, I’ve seen a few monarchs in the park this summer, and I’ve had to do a double take and make sure it indeed was a monarch I saw, because there’s an extremely similar-looking species, the Viceroy. Monarchs taste bad to any animal that tries to eat them because monarch caterpillars feed upon milkweed plants and accumulate toxins from the leaves. The viceroy, on the other hand, doesn’t taste bad— but why be eaten if you can change to look like a butterfly in your range? So, many animals that would avoid monarchs now avoid viceroys too.
See below for an image of a bee fly— not a bee!
It can be seen in organisms from a variety of taxa, and I’ve gotten to see it right here in the park. How neat is that?