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Department of Zoology



I am a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, focussing on coevolutionary interactions, especially brood parasitism in birds. I conduct fieldwork on a brood parasite (the African cuckoo finch) and its hosts in Zambia. Please see for more information. 


My research focuses on the cuckoo finch Anomalospiza imberbis, which parasitizes several warblers in the family Cisticolidae. I conduct fieldwork in Choma, Zambia, where many aspects of brood parasite-host interactions have been studied. I focus on egg rejection behaviour in hosts and egg mimicry in parasites, aiming to understand the details and evolution of these complex behaviours and adaptations. Please see my profile on for more information.


Key publications: 


Dixit, T. 2024. A synthesis of coevolution across levels of biological organisation. Evolution 78(2), 211-220.

Dixit, T., Lund, J., Fulford, A.J.C., Apostol, A.L., Chen, K.-C., Tong, W., Feeney, W.E., Hamusikili, L., Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R., Town, C.P., Spottiswoode, C.N. 2023. Chase-away evolution maintains imperfect mimicry in a brood parasite–host system despite rapid evolution of mimics. Nature Ecology & Evolution 7. 1978-1982.

Dixit, T., Chen, K.C., Stoddard, M.C., Mahadevan, L., Town, C.P., Spottiswoode, C.N., 2023. Repeatable randomness, invariant properties, and the design of biological signatures of identity. Evolution 77(10), 2224-2233.

Dixit, T., Choi, G.P.T., al-Mosleh, S.A., Lund, J., Troscianko, J., Moya, C., Mahadevan, L. & Spottiswoode, C.N. 2023. Combined measures of mimetic fidelity explain imperfect mimicry in a brood parasite–host system. Biology Letters. 19(2): 20220538.

Dixit, T., Apostol, A.L., Chen, K.-C., Fulford, A.J.C., Town, C.P. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2022). Visual complexity of egg patterns predicts egg rejection according to Weber’s law. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289: 20220710.

Dixit, T., Caves, E.M., Spottiswoode, C.N. & Horrocks, N.P.C. (2021) Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry. Evolution doi:10.1111/evo.14290 Read on journal website [Open Access]

Lund, J., Dixit, T., Attwood, M.C., Hamama, S., Moya, C., Stevens, M., Jamie, G.A. & Spottiswoode, C.N.. 2023. When perfection isn’t enough: host egg signatures are an effective defence against high-fidelity African cuckoo mimicry. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 290: 20231125.

Caves, E.M., Dixit, T., Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R., Hamusikili, L., Stevens, M., Thorogood, R. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2021) Hosts elevate either within-clutch consistency or between-clutch distinctiveness of egg phenotypes in defence against brood parasites. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288: 20210326. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Other publications: 


McClelland, S.C., Attard, M.R.G., Bowen, J, Horrocks, N.P.C., Jamie, G.A., Dixit, T., Spottiswoode, C.N., Portugal, S.J., 2023. Eggshell composition and surface properties of avian brood-parasitic species compared with non-parasitic species. R. Soc. Open Sci. 10: 221023.

Cram, D.L., van der Wal, J.E.M., Uomini, N.T., Cantor, M., Afan, A.I., Attwood, M.C., Amphaeris, J., Balasani, F., Blair, C.J., Bronstein, J.L., Buanachique, I.O., Cuthill, R.R.T., Das, J., Daura-Jorge, F.G., Deb, A., Dixit, T., Dlamini, G.S., Dounias, E., Gedi, I.I., Gruber, M., Hoffman, L.S., Holzlehner, T., Isack, H.A., Laltaika, A.E., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., Lund, J., Machado, A.M.S., Mahadevan, L., Moreno, I.B., Nwaogu, C.J., Pereira, V.L., Pierotti, R., Rucunua, S.A., dos Santos, W.F., Serpa, N., Smith, B.D., Sridhar, H., Tolkova, I., Tun, T., Valle-Pereira, J.V.S., Wood, B.M., Wrangham, R.W. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2022) The ecology and evolution of human-wildlife cooperation. People and Nature. 1-15.

van der Wal, J.E.M., Spottiswoode, C.N., Uomini, N.T., Cantor, M., Daura-Jorge, F.G., Afan, A.I., Attwood, M.C., Amphaeris, J., Balasani, F., Begg, C.M., Blair, C.J., Bronstein, J.L., Buanachique, I.O., Cuthill, R.R.T., Das, J., Deb, A., Dixit, T., Dlamini, G.S., Dounias, E., Gedi, I.I., Gruber, M., Hoffman, L.S., Holzlehner, T., Isack, H.A., Laltaika, A.E., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., Lund, J., Machado, A.M.S., Mahadevan, L., Moreno, I.B., Nwaogu, C.J., Pereira, V.L., Pierotti, R., Rucunua, S.A., dos Santos, W.F., Serpa, N., Smith, B.D., Tolkova, I., Tun, T., Valle-Pereira, J.V.S., Wood, B.M., Wrangham, R.W. & Cram, D.L. (2022) Safeguarding human-wildlife cooperation. Conservation Letters. e12886.

McClelland, S. C., Reynolds, M., Cordall, M., Hauber, M. E., Goymann, W., McClean, L. A., Hamama, S., Lund, J., Dixit, T., Louder, M. I. M., Safari, I., Honza, M., Spottiswoode, C. N., Portugal, S. J. (2021). Embryo movement is more frequent in avian brood parasites than birds with parental reproductive strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288:20211137. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Dixit, T.*, Riederer, J.M.*, Quek, S., Belford, K., Tavares de Wand, T., Sicat, R. & Jiggins, C.D. (2020) Plasticity in flower size as an adaptation to variation in pollinator specificity. Ecological Entomology 45: 1367-1372. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Sorensen, M.C., Dixit, T., Newton, J., Kardynal, K., Hobson, K., Bensch, S., Jenni-Eiereman, S. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2019) Migration distance does not predict blood parasitism in a Palearctic-African migratory bird. Ecology and Evolution 9: 8294-8304. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Pickup, M., Brandvain, Y., Fraïsse, C., Yakimowski, S., Barton, N.H., Dixit, T., Lexer, C., Cereghetti, E. & Field, D.L. (2019) Mating system variation in hybrid zones: facilitation, barriers and asymmetries to gene flow. New Phytologist 224: 1035-1047. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Dixit, T., English, S. & Lukas, D. (2017), The relationship between egg size and helper number in cooperative breeders: a meta-analysis across species. PeerJ 5:e4028. Read on journal website [Open Access]



Worsley, M.Z., Dixit, T. 2024. kber: Estimate the strength of the magnitude effect.


Non-peer-reviewed articles

Dixit, T. 2024. The cuckoo finch and the Red Queen. African Birdlife. 12(2): 24.

Dixit, T. 2023. An evolutionary chase: how mimicry remains imperfect despite rapid evolution of mimics. Springer Nature.

Dixit, T., Walton, J., Lund, J. 2019. Malachite sunbird promiscuity. Promerops 315: 23.


Junior Research Fellow


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