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Coevolution between the great spotted cuckoo and its host, the magpie. Effect of egg appearance on the evolution of egg discrimination by the host


Different mechanisms have been proposed allowing the host a better ability to recognize parasite eggs, (1) the evolution of a low intra-clutch variation in appearance of own eggs and (2) the evolution of a high inter-clutch variation. In this project I propose to test the following predictions: 1) the probability of rejecting model cuckoo eggs by individual magpies should be negatively related to intra-clutch variation 2) a positive relationships between rejection rate and inter-clutch variation of the different populations, and 3) intra-clutch variation of one magpie population should decreased because of sympatry. To do that I will analyse colour photographs of the eggs from ten different magpie populations in relation to i) whether the magpies ejected parasite eggs, and ii) whether intra- and inter- clutch variation were related among population to the level of rejection and parasitism. I will also analyse the same populations of hosts at different times (one century of diference) for an evolutionary change in the appearance of host eggs.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Universidad de Granada
Campus Fuente Nueva S/n
18071 Granada

Participants (1)

Not available