Document Detail

Molt-breeding overlap alters molt dynamics and behavior in zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata castanotis.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22573775     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Costly events in the life history cycle of organisms such as reproduction, migration and pelage/plumage replacement are typically separated in time to maximize their outcome. Such temporal separation is thought to be necessitated by energetical trade-offs, and mediated through physiological processes. However, certain species, such as tropical birds, are able to overlap two costly life history stages: reproduction and feather replacement. It has remained unclear how both events progress when they co-occur over extended periods of time. Here we determined the consequences and potential costs of such overlap by comparing molt and behavioral patterns in both sexes of captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis) that were solely molting or were overlapping breeding and molt. Individuals overlapping the early stages of breeding with molt showed a roughly 40% decrease in the growth rate of individual feathers compared with birds that were molting but not breeding. Further, individuals that overlapped breeding and molt tended to molt fewer feathers simultaneously and exhibited longer intervals between shedding consecutive feathers on the tail or the same wing as well as delays in shedding corresponding flight feathers on opposite sides. Overlapping individuals also altered their time budgets: they devoted more than twice the time to feeding while halving the time spent for feather care in comparison to molt-only individuals. These data provide experimental support for the previously untested hypothesis that when molt and reproduction overlap in time, feather replacement will occur at a slower and less intense rate. There were no sex differences in any of the variables assessed, except for a tendency in females to decline body condition more strongly over time during the overlap than males. Our data indicate the existence of major consequences of overlapping breeding and molt, manifested in changes in both molt dynamics and time budgets of both sexes. It is likely that under harsher conditions in natural environments such consequences will be more severe and may result in fitness consequences.
Maria A Echeverry-Galvis; Michaela Hau
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  215     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2012 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-05-10     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1957-64     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, 106A Guyot Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
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