Charms of small males may collapse a Darwin’s finch species

Mating rules may be changing for one of the storied Galápagos birds

By Susan Milius, 09:55 AM February 12, 2014

The lure of little guys of the wrong species — plus an invasion of flies — may drive one of Darwin’s finch species toward extinction.

Diverse finches that Darwin saw scattered across the Galápagos Islands have become favorite subjects for studying how species diverge or blur together in time frames a person can observe.

Now, on the island of Floreana, females of the medium tree finch (Camarhynchus pauper) are blurring species lines by crossbreeding with males of a smaller finch species (C. par...

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