Special Issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society on brood parasitism

Feb 25, 2019

Special Issue Cover

The coevolutionary biology of brood parasitism: from mechanism to pattern’ is a theme issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, co-edited by Claire together with Steve Portugal, Ros Gloag and Rose Thorogood – read on for 16 papers on some of the most fascinating animals you’ll meet! These include papers from our team on higher-level pattern signatures as defences in host eggs; reduced eggshell conductance as an adaptation to brood parasitism; and what egg signatures and immune systems have in common.

The formal summary of the special issue:

“Obligate brood parasitic cheats have fascinated natural historians since ancient times. Passing on the costs of parental care to others occurs widely in birds, insects, and fish, and often exerts selection pressure on hosts which in turn evolve defences. Brood parasites have therefore provided an illuminating system for researching coevolution. Nevertheless, we lack a comprehensive understanding of how ecology and evolutionary history constrain or facilitate these adaptations, via the mechanisms that shape or respond to selection. In this theme issue we bring together examples from across the animal kingdom to illustrate the diverse ways in which recent research is addressing this gap. First it presents examples of recent developments in methodology that are providing greater insight into the mechanisms used by brood parasitic birds and insects to fool hosts, and the exciting possibilities afforded by new study systems. The issue then explores the diversity and predictability of coevolution between brood parasites and hosts to shed light on how brood parasites evolve. Finally, it takes a more expansive view of brood parasitism research to ask how this topic can be informed by, and contribute to, our understanding of social evolution in general.”

News

New paper on host-specific mimicry by indigobird and whydah chicks

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.

Pick of the month in Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Dr Gabriel Jamie and Dr Joana Meier’s paper “The Persistence of Polymorphisms across Species Radiations” has been selected by Trends in Ecology and Evolution as the journal Editor’s pick of the month. Read the full paper here: https://tinyurl.com/y29l4ygr

Launching Honeyguiding.me for all bird enthusiasts in Africa!

Honeyguiding.me is a citizen science project for which we welcome all records of Greater Honeyguides anywhere in Africa. Visit our Honeyguiding.me project site in English, en français & em Português!
Please also follow the Honeyguide Research Project on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @honeyguiding.