Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 1998 Oct 16;282(5388):471-2.

Host-race formation in the common cuckoo

Author information

  • 1K. Marchetti and H. L. Gibbs, Department of Biology, McMaster University, 1280 West Main Street, Hamilton, L8S 4K1 Ontario, Canada. H. Nakamura, Department of Biology, Faculty of Education, Shinshu University, Nishinagano, Nagano, 380, Japan.


The exploitation of a new host by a parasite may result in host-race formation or speciation. A brood parasitic bird, the common cuckoo, is divided into host races, each characterized by egg mimicry of different host species. Microsatellite DNA markers were used to examine cuckoo mating patterns and host usage in an area where a new host has been recently colonized. Female cuckoos show strong host preferences, but individual males mate with females that lay in the nests of different hosts. Female host specialization may lead to the evolution of sex-linked traits such as egg mimicry, even though gene flow through the male line prevents completion of the speciation process.

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk