Thursday, June 5, 2014
In tropical coral reef communities, flatworms of the order Polycladida have developed a unique defensive strategy. Although many secrete noxious chemicals, which they advertise with bright aposematic coloration, many have adopted colors and patterns that match those of local, toxic sea slugs. This Mullerian and/or Batesian mimicry is enough to confuse and repel would-be predators. Below are photos of these flatworms and their nudibranch counterparts, illustrating the striking similarities between them.