Mimicry is a phenomenon in which one species resembles another species, often to the advantage of the mimic. In the case of butterflies, mimicry can involve the butterfly resembling a toxic or unpalatable species, in order to deter predators.
There are several types of mimicry that are known to occur in butterflies, including Batesian mimicry, Mullerian mimicry, and Wasmannian mimicry.
Batesian mimicry is a type of mimicry in which a harmless or edible species resembles a toxic or unpalatable species, in order to deter predators. The mimic benefits by avoiding being eaten, while the model (the toxic or unpalatable species) benefits by having its warning signals reinforced.
Mullerian mimicry is a type of mimicry in which two or more toxic or unpalatable species resemble each other, in order to deter predators. In this case, both the mimics and the models benefit from the mimicry, as the warning signals of both species are reinforced.
Wasmannian mimicry is a type of mimicry in which a species resembles another species in order to gain access to a shared resource, such as a nest or a food source. In this case, the mimic benefits by being able to exploit the resource, while the model may or may not benefit from the mimicry.
Butterflies have a variety of other defenses that they use to protect themselves from predators and other threats. These may include physical defenses, such as spines or toxins, or behavioral defenses, such as camouflage, startle displays, or evasion.
Some species of butterflies are also able to produce sounds or release chemicals that may deter predators or attract mates.