Congratulations to Luke McClean on submitting his PhD thesis at the University of Cape Town, entitled ‘Coevolution between brood-parasitic honeyguides and their hosts’, based on four years of fieldwork in Zambia from 2015 to 2018 – here he is setting up a nest camera in the field together with Lazaro Hamusikili. To our knowledge this is only the second ever PhD thesis on honeyguides, after Dr Hussein Isack’s ground-breaking work at the University of Oxford in the 1980s.
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.