Document Detail

Phenotypic sorting in morphology and reproductive investment among sociable weaver colonies.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17828609     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Colony sizes in birds can vary by orders of magnitude within species, and many studies have shown that selection pressures differ dramatically among small and large colonies. Does such selection result in phenotypic sorting at the level of individuals? This study describes inter-colony differences in morphology and reproductive investment in a population of a highly colonial, communal and sedentary African passerine bird, the sociable weaver Philetairus socius. Relative colony sizes were fairly stable over a 10-year period. Adults differed among colonies in terms of bill morphology, condition, body size and degree of ectoparasite infestation, and the last two declined consistently with colony size. In larger colonies, smaller eggs were laid, and nestlings were more parasite-infested, showed weaker cell-mediated immune responses, and experienced higher levels of brood reduction and snake predation. Taken together with another study showing that adult survival is higher in larger colonies, these results suggest that patterns of age-specific mortality are consistently related to colony size in the sociable weaver. Based on these observations I suggest two hypotheses that might account for the observed phenotypic sorting, involving colony size-dependent patterns in (1) density-dependent competition for food and (2) adaptive life-history adjustment.
Claire N Spottiswoode
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2007-09-09
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  154     ISSN:  0029-8549     ISO Abbreviation:  Oecologia     Publication Date:  2007 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-11-21     Completed Date:  2008-01-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  589-600     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Clutch Size
Mite Infestations
Nesting Behavior
Passeriformes / parasitology,  physiology*
Phytohemagglutinins / metabolism
Predatory Behavior
Time Factors
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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