José Javier Cuervo

PhD, Associate Professor of Research




Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal 2
E-28006 Madrid

Phone: (+34) 914 111 328 (ext. 1281)
Fax: (+34) 915 645 078



Education and employment:

2010-present: Associate Professor of Research, National Museum of Natural Sciences, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid, Spain

2008-2010: Associate Professor of Research, Arid Zones Experimental Station, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Almería, Spain

2008: Visiting Scholar, Evolutionary Parasitology Laboratory, National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, France

2005-2006: Visiting Scholar, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

1999-2008: Tenured Scientist, Arid Zones Experimental Station, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Almería, Spain

1996-1999: Hired Research Staff, Doñana Biological Station, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Sevilla, Spain

1994-1996: Post-doc, Zoological Institute, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark

1993-1994: Post-doc, Department of Zoology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Suecia

1993: PhD, Department of Animal Biology I, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

1989-1992: PhD Student, Doñana Biological Station, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Sevilla, Spain

1988: Degree in Biology, Navarra University, Pamplona, Spain





Current grants and projects:

The function of lizard colouration: a case study with the spiny-footed lizard. 2009-2011. (PI: José Javier Cuervo, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC).    

The function of nuptial coloration in lizards has been studied mainly in males, while very few studies have focused on females. In this project, the function of nuptial coloration in female spiny-footed lizards (Acanthodactylus erythrurus) will be investigated. Females of this species show red tail and hind legs during the reproductive season. Several hypotheses about the function of this coloration in the context of intra-specific communication will be tested using different approaches: field observations, laboratory experiments, and comparative studies on different populations. This third approach will require a genetic and phylogeographic study. Moreover, the influence of steroid hormones on female coloration will be also determined. Juveniles of this species show conspicuous red tails, and its possible function in predation avoidance will be studied.






Journal of Avian Biology

Effects of experimental tail shortening on the phenotypic condition of barn swallows Hirundo rustica: Implications for tail-length evolution

Journal of Ornithology

Plasma carotenoid depletion during fasting in moulting penguins


Does avian conspicuous colouration increase or reduce predation risk?

Marine Ecology Progress Series

Population genetic structure and colonisation of the western Antarctic Peninsula by the seabird tick Ixodes uriae

Concentration of trace elements in feathers of three Antarctic penguins: Geographical and interspecific differences

Polar Biology

Seabird ticks (Ixodes uriae) distribution along the Antarctic Peninsula.

Mammalian Biology -pdf

Fluctuating asymmetry and blood parameters in three endangered gazelle species

Journal of Ornithology -pdf

Experimental feeding affects the relationship between hematocrit and body weight in spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) nestlings

Antarctic Science -pdf

Apparent absence of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Toxoplasma gondii in three species of penguins along Antarctic Peninsula

Journal of Evolutionary Biology -pdf

The allometric pattern of sexually size dimorphic feather ornaments and factors affecting allometry

Polar Biology -pdf

Beak colouration as a possible sexual ornament in gentoo penguins: sexual dichromatism and relationship to body condition

BMC Evolutionary Biology -pdf

Minisatellite mutation rates increase with extra-pair paternity among birds

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

Individual differences in protandry, sexual selection and fitness

American Naturalist -pdf

Sexually selected egg coloration in spotless starlings

Ardeola -pdf

Suitable cavities as a scarce resource for both cavity and non-cavity nesting birds in managed temperate forests. A case study in the Iberian Peninsula

Acta Ornithologica -pdf

Does habitat structure affect body condition of nestlings? A case study with woodland great tits Parus major

Journal of Zoology -pdf

Hues of a dragon's belly: morphological correlates of ventral coloration in water dragons

Animal Behaviour -pdf

Is the relation between colour and immune response mediated by nutritional condition in spotless starling nestlings?

Functional Ecology -pdf

The functional significance of residual yolk in hatchling lizards (Amphibolurus muricatus, Agamidae)

Ibis -pdf

Hematocrit is weakly related to condition in nestling barn swallows Hirundo rustica


Experimental tail elongation in male Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica reduces provisioning of young, but only in second broods

Ibis -pdf

Experimental tail elongation in male Barn Swallows reduces provisioning of young, but only in second broods

Evolution -pdf

An analysis of continent-wide patterns of sexual selection in a passerine bird

Quercus -pdf

La larga cola de las golondrinas

Functional Ecology -pdf

Experimental tail shortening in barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) affects haematocrit

Bird Study -pdf

Hatching success in avocet Recurvirostra avosetta and black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus

Bird Study -pdf

Nest-site selection and characteristics in a mixed-species colony of Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta and Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus


Feather Damage of Long Tails in Barn Swallows Hirundo Rustica

BMC Evolutionary Biology -pdf

Sexual selection, germline mutation rate and sperm competition

Canadian Journal of Zoology -pdf

Parental roles and mating system in the black-winged stilt

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

Extrapair paternity in relation to sexual ornamentation, arrival date and condition in a migratory bird

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

Experimental manipulation of tail length in female barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) affects their future reproductive success


Asymmetry, size, and sexual selection: factors affecting heterogeneity in relationships between asymmetry and sexual selection. In: M. Polak (ed.). Developmental instability: causes and consequences (pp. 262-275). Oxford University Press, New York.


Cigüeñuela común – Himantopus himantopus. In: Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. L. M. Carrascal, A. Salvador (eds.). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid.

Ardea -pdf

Feather damage of long tails in barn swallows


Selección sexual versus selección natural: el ejemplo de la cola de la golondrina. In: M. Soler (ed.). Evolución: la base de la biología (pp. 463-469). Proyecto Sur de Ediciones, Granada.

Evolutionary Ecology -pdf

Components of phenotypic variation in avian ornamental and non-ornamental feathers

EtoloGuía -pdf

El estudio de la asimetría fluctuante

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

Sex limited expression of ornamental feathers in birds

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

The evolution of paternity and paternal care in birds

Ethology -pdf

Foraging cost of ornaments which are not ornaments: comment on Matyjasiak et al. (1999)

Journal of Evolutionary Biology -pdf

Ecology and evolution of extravagant feather ornaments

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society -pdf

Phenotypic variation and fluctuating asymmetry in avian feather ornaments in relation to sex and mating system

Evolutionary Ecology -pdf

Evolutionary rates of secondary sexual and non-sexual characters among birds

Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences -pdf

Sexual selection and tail streamers in the barn swallow

Animal Behaviour -pdf

Nest building is a sexually selected behaviour in the barn swallow

Evolution -pdf

Speciation and feather ornamentation in birds

Oecologia -pdf

Experimental manipulation of tail ornament size affects the haematocrit of male barn swallows (Hirundo rustica)

Functional Ecology -pdf

Haematocrit correlates with tail ornament size in three populations of the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Journal of Zoology -pdf

The effect of hatching date on parental care, chick growth, and chick mortality in the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

Horn asymmetry and fitness in gemsbok, Oryx g. Gazella

Behavioral Ecology -pdf

The function of long tails in female barn swallows (Hirundo rustica): An experimental study

Oecologia -pdf

Energetic cost of tail streamers in the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Polar Biology -pdf

Hatching asynchrony, sibling hierarchies and brood reduction in the Chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica

Biología reproductiva de la avoceta (Recurvirostra avosetta) y la cigüeñuela (Himantopus himantopus) (Recurvirostridae, Aves) en el sur de España. PhD Thesis. Complutense University, Madrid. CD-ROM format, ISBN: 84-669-0546-4

Animal Behaviour -pdf

The function of feeding chases in the chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica)




Information on barn swallow research 

Conservation of tropical environments in Panama 

Online encyclopedia of Spanish vertebrates (in Spanish)

Information on Antarctic penguins (in Spanish)






Ctra. de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120, Almería (Spain)

Tel: (+34) 950281045 Fax: (+34) 950277100 ISN: 0*1592 sip: Skype: voip.eeza


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