Document Detail

Darker eumelanic barn owls better withstand food depletion through resistance to food deprivation and lower appetite.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20549273     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The intensity of selection exerted on ornaments typically varies between environments. Reaction norms may help to identify the conditions under which ornamented individuals have a selective advantage over drab conspecifics. It has been recently hypothesized that in vertebrates eumelanin-based coloration reflects the ability to regulate the balance between energy intake and expenditure. We tested two predictions of this hypothesis in barn owl nestlings, namely that darker eumelanic individuals have a lower appetite and lose less weight when food-deprived. We found that individuals fed ad libitum during 24 h consumed less food when their plumage was marked with larger black spots. When food-deprived for 24 h nestlings displaying larger black spots lost less weight. Thus, in the barn owl the degree of eumelanin-based coloration reflects the ability to withstand periods of food depletion through lower appetite and resistance to food restriction. Eumelanic coloration may therefore be associated with adaptations to environments where the risk of food depletion is high.
Amélie Dreiss; Isabelle Henry; Charlène Ruppli; Bettina Almasi; Alexandre Roulin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-06-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  164     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  Oecologia     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-16     Completed Date:  2010-12-07     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  65-71     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Newborn
Energy Metabolism
Food Deprivation / physiology*
Melanins / metabolism
Melanocortins / metabolism*
Strigiformes / physiology*
Weight Loss*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Melanins; 0/Melanocortins

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