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So clearly, these two organisms which are, by the way, both very distasteful, have very similar color patterns. We then suggest that this is a case of convergent evolution, that these things have evolved the same color pattern independently. But their close relatives have different color patterns is the other corollary to that assumption. And it's not just these particular pairs of species that show this tendency. Here's another species of flatworm and another species of nudibranch.

One of the things that we need to determine is in this evolutionary relationship of convergent evolution. We need to determine what kind of mimicry exists here, whether this is Batesian or Mullerian mimicry. Batesian mimicry is a situation where you have one species which is distasteful and another one that's perfectly palatable. In Mullerian mimicry both species are distasteful. So one of the things that we did when we first found these nudibranchs and flatworms in the same habitat is we brought a bunch of them back to the laboratory. Let me tell you about these things in their natural habitat. In one place in New Guinea, there were literally hundreds of this flatworm and probably about 100 or so of this nudibranch all within a very small area of about ten feet wide and twenty feet long. So they were obviously in the same habitat. It wasn't like we plucked one from one reef and found another one a few days later in a very distant location.


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