Saturday, April 23, 2011

Biological arms race leads to unique egg colors and patterns

To ward off the cuckoo finch, every host bird lays eggs of different color and pattern, thus leading to a wealth of colorful eggs.
New research by Claire Spottiswoode and Martin Stevens reveals that the biological arms race between cuckoos and host birds can escalate into a competion for unique egg colors and patterns. Variations in eggs seem to act like the complicated markings on a banknote: complex colors and patterns act to make host eggs more difficult to forge by cuckoos.

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