Document Detail

Melatonin and nocturnal migration.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16055859     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Many species of diurnal birds migrate nocturnally. Here, a series of studies of the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) on the relationship between nocturnal restlessness and melatonin, a hormone that in birds modulates day-night rhythms, are reviewed. Migratory populations from Sweden and Kenya were compared with resident populations from Cape Verde. In blackcaps of migratory populations, night levels of melatonin were lower during the migratory period, when birds showed nocturnal activity, than before and after this period, when birds did not show nocturnal activity. On the contrary, the occurrence of periodic or irregular phases of nocturnal activity in some nonmigratory birds from Cape Verde was not accompanied by a reduction in melatonin levels. In a second series of experiments, it was studied whether melatonin levels change when nocturnally active blackcaps are experimentally transferred from a migratory to a nonmigratory state. A long migratory flight and a refueling stopover were simulated by depriving birds of food for 2 days, subsequently readministering food. The experiments were done in autumn with birds collected in Sweden, and repeated in spring with birds collected in Kenya. In autumn, there was a suppression of nocturnal activity and an increase in melatonin in the night following food reintroduction. In spring, the effects were qualitatively similar, but their extent depended on the amount of body fat reserves. Taken together, the studies demonstrate the existence of a functional relationship between melatonin and nocturnal restlessness and of seasonal differences in the response of the migratory program to food availability.
Leonida Fusani; Eberhard Gwinner
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences     Volume:  1046     ISSN:  0077-8923     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.     Publication Date:  2005 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-08-01     Completed Date:  2005-10-19     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7506858     Medline TA:  Ann N Y Acad Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  264-70     Citation Subset:  IM    
Dipartimento di Fisiologia, Sez. Neuroscienze e Fisiologia Applicata, Università di Siena, via Aldo Moro, 53100 Siena, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Africa, Western
Animal Migration / physiology*
Circadian Rhythm / physiology
Melatonin / physiology*
Passeriformes / physiology*
Time Factors
Reg. No./Substance:

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