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Fear of the cuckoo mafia
Date:4/17/2014

nd hatch the next cuckoo's egg for fear of having their nest destroyed again.

Instead of retaliating, the parasites could attempt to mimic the eggs of the host birds. This makes it more difficult for hosts to identify and destroy the foreign egg. There are some birds which do in fact apply this strategy. But Abou Chakra sees an advantage in the mafia-like behaviour itself: "We believe it helps the parasites to avoid specialisation." Birds that do not adapt the size and colour of their eggs to any particular host can foist their offspring on nearly any species of bird and use their behaviour to force the foster parents to raise it. "The question is, what are the conditions under which it's better for parasites to specialise and when does mafia-like behaviour pay off?" This is what the scientists intend on testing next.


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Contact: Dr. Maria Abou Chakra
abouchakra@evolbio.mpg.de
49-452-276-3237
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Bees that go Cuckoo in others nests
2. Birds find ways to avoid raising cuckoos young
3. Magpie parents know a baby cuckoo when they see one
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