Are two South-Western Atlantic wrasses involved in a case of social mimicry?

José Anchieta C.C. Nunes, Cláudio L.S. Sampaio, Antoine O.H.C. Leduc*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated whether two South-Western Atlantic wrasses [Halichoeres penrosei (models) and Thalassoma noronhanum (mimics)] were involved in social mimicry. In mixed shoals, we recorded species-specific abundances and lengths, and qualitatively assessed these fishe’s behaviour. In all aggregations, mimics were fewer than models but of comparable body size. Furthermore, mimics faithfully followed model’s behaviour. As mimicry should provide benefits, we measured the flight initiation distance (FID) of mimics to an approaching predator. FID was negatively correlated with group size, suggesting that larger shoals were perceived as safer. These results suggest that social mimicry between these species takes place, and provide antipredation benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Ethology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Antipredator behaviour
  • Labridae
  • Reef ecosystem
  • Reef fish
  • Social behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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