Tanmay Dixit and Claire Spottiswoode visited collaborators in the USA as part of developing questions for Tanmay’s PhD. Prof L. Mahadevan (Harvard University) and Dr Mary Caswell (Cassie) Stoddard (Princeton University) and their groups made them feel very welcome, and the thought-provoking and fascinating discussions led to the development of very interesting hypotheses and predictions. Here Cassie shows us Einstein’s house in Princeton (no pressure, Tanmay!).
In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.