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Department of Zoology



Our research focuses on brain and behavioural evolution. We are interested in the selection pressures that lead to variation in brain morphology across species, how these neural differences alter behaviour, and how they are produced by changes in development.

Current research topics include:

  • Mushroom body expansion in Heliconius butterflies.
  • Sensory adaptations in ithomiines.
  • Brain evolution during micro-habitat divergence.
  • Macroevolutionary patterns of vertebrate brain evolution.

Key Publications 

Montgomery SH, Merrill RM. Divergence in brain composition during the early stages of ecological specialization in Heliconius butterflies. J Evol Biol (2017) 30 (3): 571-582.

Montgomery SH, Merrill RM, Ott SR. Brain Composition in Heliconius butterflies, post-eclosion growth and experience dependent neuropil plasticity. J Comp Neurol (2016) 524 (9): 1747-1769.

Montgomery SH, Mundy NI, Barton RA. Brain evolution and development: adaptation, allometry and constraint. Proc Roy Soc B (2016) 283: 20160433.

Montgomery SH, Ott SR. Brain composition in Godyris zavaleta, a diurnal butterfly, reflects an increased reliance on olfactory information. J Comp Neurol (2015) 523 (6): 869-891.

List of publications via Google Scholar


Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Stephen Montgomery

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223  (3)36678

Group Members