Avoidance Behavior in Mimicry: What Happens When Coral Snakes are Absent?

What would happen in areas where coral snakes were never present?

a. Predators would initially avoid king snakes but soon learn to attack and eat them.
b. Predators would initially attack and eat king snakes but soon learn to avoid them.
c. Predators would attack and eat king snakes.
d. No predictions can be made based on the information given.

Answer: option C - Predators would attack and eat king snakes.

Explanation: If predators have never interacted with venomous coral snakes, they would not have learned to associate the mimicked color pattern of king snakes with danger. Therefore, they would likely attack and eat king snakes.

The student's question refers to a concept in ecology called Batesian mimicry, where a harmless species (in this case, the king snake) mimics a harmful or unpalatable species (the coral snake) to deter predators. If avoidance were solely based on prior predator experience with the model species (coral snakes), and coral snakes were never present in a particular area, predators in that area would have no reference point to associate the mimicked color pattern with danger. Therefore, the most likely prediction would be that the predators would attack and eat king snakes.

So, the answer is: c. Predators would attack and eat king snakes.

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