When should a ground-nesting bird, protected only by its own camouflage, flee its nest to save itself from an approaching predator? In this study we show that nesting nightjars, plovers and coursers in Zambia time their escape from a threat depending on how well camouflaged their eggs and their own bodies are. Read more in an article about the study in Science Daily, or in the original paper by Jared Wilson-Aggarwal, Jolyon Troscianko, Martin Stevens and Claire Spottiswoode, available open access in The American Naturalist.
Our paper ‘Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry’ has been published in the journal Evolution. This perspectives paper, written by Tanmay Dixit, Eleanor Caves, Claire Spottiswoode, and Nicholas Horrocks, argues that Weber’s Law of proportional processing can lead to otherwise counterintuitive predictions about the evolutionary trajectories of mimicry systems. Weber’s Law states that when the magnitude of a stimulus is large, it is more difficult to discriminate a change or difference from that stimulus. In other words, relative differences are more salient than absolute differences. We show that Weber’s Law could have implications for mimicry: when stimulus magnitudes are high, it should be more difficult to discriminate a model from a mimic. This leads to testable predictions about evolutionary trajectories of models and mimics. We also present a framework for testing Weber’s Law and its implications for coevolution.