Cheats and deceits: Deception in nature

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Monday 29 February

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)

    Credit: Olaf Oliviero Riemer. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons


Standard £14

Concession £10

Discounts for Ri Members

Event description

Individuals of numerous species face a constant battle to survive, find food, and reproduce. However, many don’t play fair - they deceive and manipulate others in order to lure unsuspecting prey, avoid attack from predators, coerce mates, and trick others into rearing their young.

Martin Stevens will discuss how widespread deception is in nature, including remarkable examples ranging from ant-mimicking spiders to cheating cuckoos. He will explore the latest developments in understanding the evolution of deception and how it works, along with a range of new discoveries. He will explain how our understanding of deception has been shaped by both Victorian pioneers of evolution and exploration and the latest scientific experiments, and yet how some mysteries still remain.

About the speaker

Martin Stevens is Associate Professor in sensory and evolutionary ecology at the Exeter University. He leads a group of researchers on a range of areas including  animal vision, anti-predator coloration, brood parasitism, signalling and communication. This is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating theories and methods from several areas of biology, experimental psychology, and computer science.

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