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Arms Races in Nature: Cuckoos vs. Hosts

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This talk will be about the coevolutionary “arms races” that arise between brood-parasitic birds and the host species that exploit to raise their young, focussing on various African bird species that Claire studies in the field in Zambia: cuckoos, honeyguides, and parasitic finches. In particular, she’ll ask how coevolution can escalate to shape beautiful diversity in egg colours and patterns in both hosts and parasites, and look at some of the sensory and genetic mechanisms underlying this process. She’ll also touch on the double life of the brood-parasitic greater honeyguide as a cooperative partner of our own species, whom it guides to bees’ nests.

This talk is part of the Larmor Society series.

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