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  • 1
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    [s.l.] : Nature Publishing Group
    Nature 411 (2001), S. 132-132 
    ISSN: 1476-4687
    Source: Nature Archives 1869 - 2009
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Medicine , Natural Sciences in General , Physics
    Notes: [Auszug] Sir Navarro and Rivero in Correspondence for the first time quantified favouritism (“inbreeding”) in Spanish universities, showing that it is at least 10 times higher than in France, the United States and the United Kingdom. I have now quantified this phenomenon in ...
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1573-8477
    Keywords: nest building ; parental investment ; sexual selection ; signal
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Avian nest building has traditionally been viewed as resulting in natural selection advantages, but it is also been associated with courtship and pair formation. We hypothesize that nest-building activity could be used as a sexually selected display, allowing each sex to obtain reliable information on the condition of the other. In this paper, we test the ‘good parent’ process in a scenario where nest size is a sexually selected trait. Thus, individuals with more extreme displays (larger nests) might obtain benefits in terms of either parental investment or differential parental investment by the partner. We predicted that: (1) species in which both sexes contribute to nest building have larger nests than those in which the nest is built only by one sex, because both sexes are using the nest-building process as a signal of their quality; (2) species in which both sexes work together in the nest-building process invest more in reproduction, because each can assess the other more reliably than in species where only one sex participates in nest building; and (3) in light of the two preceding predictions, nest size should be positively related to investment in parental care. A comparative analysis of 76 passerine species confirmed that nest size, relative to the species' body size, is larger when both sexes build the nest and that species with a larger nest relative to their body size invest more in reproduction.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Key words Brood parasitism ; Clamator glandarius ; Coevolution ; Parasite counter-defences ; Pica pica
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract A long-term study of the interactions between a brood parasite, the great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius, and its primary host the magpie Pica pica, demonstrated local changes in the distribution of both magpies and cuckoos and a rapid increase of rejection of both mimetic and non-mimetic model eggs by the host. In rich areas, magpies improved three of their defensive mechanisms: nest density and breeding synchrony increased dramatically and rejection rate of cuckoo eggs increased more slowly. A stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that parasitism rate decreased as host density increased and cuckoo density decreased. A logistic regression analysis indicated that the probability of changes in magpie nest density in the study plots was significantly affected by the density of magpie nests during the previous year (positively) and the rejection rate of mimetic model eggs (negatively). These results are consistent with a hypothesis (the intermittent arms race hypothesis) of spatially structured cyclic changes in parasitism. During periods of parasitism, host defences continuously improve, and as a consequence, the fitness gains for parasites decrease. When host defences against parasites reach a high level, dispersing parasites have a selective advantage if they are able to emigrate to areas of low resistance. Once parasites have left an area hosts will lose their defensive adaptations due to their cost in the absence of parasitism. The scene is then set for re-colonization by great spotted cuckoos.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Key words Brood parasitism ; Clamator glandarius ; Egg laying ; Multiple parasitism ; Territory
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract We analysed the spatial and temporal pattern of egg laying in great spotted cuckoo females using microsatellite typing to determine parentage of the eggs and nestlings found in host (magpie) nests. The results showed that there were no exclusive laying territories in the study area. Cases of multiparasitism could be due to single females laying two or more eggs in a nest, or to several females using the same nest. In the latter case multiparasitism was due to a shortage of available host nests. We argue that the need for very large laying areas and the likely small cost of sharing parental care for chicks make the costs of defending territories higher than the benefits, which has constrained the evolution of territoriality in this species.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Key words Brood parasitism ; Cuckoo Host abundance ; Host characteristics ; Host-parasite coevolution
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Certain kinds of hosts are commonly regarded as being more suitable than other for rearing European cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) – insectivores that lay small eggs and have open, shallow nests – although empirical tests of cuckoo host selection are lacking. We analysed host use by the European cuckoo in 72 British passerines that are potential hosts and for which there was information available on life-history variables and variables related to cuckoo-host coevolution, such as rate of parasitism, rejection rate of non-mimetic model eggs and degree of cuckoo-egg mimicry of host eggs. The relative population size of the host species affected parasitism rate most strongly, followed by relatively short duration of the nestling period, and the kind of nest, with cuckoos selecting open-nesting hosts. However, the effect of the nestling period could be related to host body size and the kind of nest used, because hole-nesting species normally have longer nestling periods than open-nesters. We re-analysed the data excluding hole nesters and corvid species (species with larger body mass), but the results remained identical. The European cuckoo may benefit from selecting hosts with short nestling periods because such hosts provide food for their nestlings at a very high rate. When only those species known as cuckoo hosts were analysed, the variable that best accounted for the parasitism rate was duration of the breeding season. Therefore, availability of potential hosts in both time and space is important for cuckoos in selecting hosts.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Brood parasitism Clamator glandarius Coevolution Meta-population Pica pica
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract. Brood parasitism is one of the systems where coevolutionary processes have received the most research. Here, we review experiments that suggest a coevolutionary process between the great spotted cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) and its magpie (Pica pica) host. We focus on different stages of establishment of the relationship, from cuckoos selecting individual hosts and hosts defending their nests from adult cuckoos, to the ability of magpies to detect cuckoo eggs in their nests. Novel coevolutionary insights emerge from our synthesis of the literature, including how the evolution of "Mafia" behaviour in cuckoos does not necessarily inhibit the evolution of host recognition and rejection of cuckoo offspring, and how different populations of black-billed magpies in Europe have evolved specific host traits (e.g. nest and clutch size) as a result of interactions with the great spotted cuckoo. Finally, the results of the synthesis reveal the importance of using a meta-population approach when studying coevolution. This is especially relevant in those cases where gene flow among populations with different degrees of brood parasitism explains patterns of coexistence between defensive and non-defensive host phenotypes. We propose the use of a meta-population approach to distinguish between the "evolutionary equilibrium" hypothesis and the "evolutionary lag" hypothesis.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1432-0762
    Keywords: Brood parasitism ; Clamator glandarius ; Chick recognition ; Pica pica ; Supernormal stimulus
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Hosts of brood parasites have evolved the ability to discriminate non-mimetic and even mimetic eggs, but not non-mimetic chicks. Here we demonstrate that the great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius does not provide its magpie Pica pica host with a super-normal stimulus that helps to avoid recognition, because single cuckoo chicks introduced into otherwise unparasitized magpie nests are not fed at a higher frequency than single magpie chicks introduced to parasitized magpie nests. Another series of experiments demonstrated that magpies have the ability to discriminate cuckoo chicks, mainly when these are introduced at the end of the nestling period, and especially when the cuckoo chick together with a magpie chick is presented to adult magpies outside the nest. This supports the idea that cuckoos exploit the obligatory reaction of magpies to feed all young that have been hatched in their nests and whose “signatures” they have learnt. Furthermore, the experimental cuckoo chicks in parasitized magpie nests were more likely to be accepted than they were in non-parasitized nests. This supports the hypothesis that magpies may learn to recognise their own nestlings as those present in the nest and may indicate that a comparison between cuckoo and magpie nestlings is the basis of discrimination.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1432-0762
    Keywords: Key words Brood parasitism ; Clamator glandarius ; Coevolution ; Egg-damaging behaviour ; Pica pica
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Adult great spotted cuckoos, Clamator glandarius, frequently damage one or more eggs of their magpie host, Pica pica, without removing or eating them. The presence of damaged host eggs could signal parasitism thereby increasing the probability that the parasitic egg is ejected. This hypothesis was tested by experimentally introducing a model cuckoo egg with or without damaged host eggs. Magpie responses to experimental parasitism did not differ significantly between treatments implying that damaged host eggs are not used by magpies to assess parasitism. We followed the fate of magpie eggs naturally damaged by the great spotted cuckoo or experimentally damaged by us. Host response was very similar for naturally or experimentally damaged host eggs, but varied significantly according to the type of egg damage, eggs being removed more frequently when pecked than crushed, while cracked eggs were never removed. However, the egg damage that most readily causes egg removal is albumen leakage.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1439-0361
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Description / Table of Contents: Zusammenfassung Am Beispiel des Trauersteinschmätzers, einem Singvogel mit mehreren Jahresbruten, wurden in einer trockenen Inlandniederung Südostspaniens die Faktoren untersucht, die individuelle Unterschiede im Fortpflanzungserfolg bedingen. Die Paare unternahmen einschließlich Ersatzgelege ein bis fünf Brutversuche pro Saison und können maximal bis 3 Bruten aufziehen. Hieraus ergibt sich eine große Variation der Produktivität. Der Legebeginn zog sich bei den einzelnen Paaren über mehrere Monate hin. Die Zahl der Brutversuche, die vom Termin des ersten Legebeginns abhängig waren, und die Qualität der elterlichen Brutpflege, gemessen an dem Anteil der Eier, die flügge Junge ergaben (ohne Fälle von Nestraub), ließen den Bruterfolg pro Saison am besten bestimmen. Gelgegegröße variierte nur gering (4 Eier im Mittel) und zeigt die quadratische Beziehung zum Legedatum, wie für mehrfachbrütende Sperlingsvögel typisch. Eltern, die intensiver am Nest fütterten, waren die produktivsten, fütterten auch intensiver nach dem Flüggewerden der Jungen und zeigten kürzere Intervalle zwischen aufeinanderfolgenden Bruten. Einjährige Weibchen oder Weibchen, die mit einjährigen Männchen verpaart waren, hatten geringeren Erfolg gemessen an Zahl der flüggen Jungen; Weibchen, die das erste Mal in einem Revier brüteten, begannen später zu legen. Unregelmäßigkeiten in der letzten Mauser, wie sie an Ungleichmäßigkeiten der Wachstumsbänder der Federn zu erkennen waren, hatten negativen Effekt auf die Produktivität der Weibchen und auf die Abstände zwischen aufeinanderfolgenden Bruten bei Männchen. Männchen mit vielen Ektoparasiten waren weniger produktiv. Die Wiederholbarkeit des Fortpflanzungsverhaltens von Männchen, Weibchen oder in einzelnen Revieren war relativ niedrig und nicht signifikant. Die langen und variablen Fortpflanzungsperioden und die starken Einflüsse auf die individuelle Kondition bei Produktion und Fürsorge der Eier und Jungen ist wohl für trockene und wenig produktive Landschaften des Mittelmeerbeckens typisch.
    Notes: Abstract The factors affecting individual variation in reproductive success in a multibrooded passerine, the Black WheatearOenanthe leucura, were studied during five years in a dry inland depression in SE Spain. Black Wheatear pairs initiated 1–5 breeding attempts in a season, including relayings, and managed to raise 0–3 broods and 0–13 fledglings. The onset of breeding for different pairs spanned several months. The number of breeding attempts and the proportion of young resulting in fledged young (excluding predated broods) were the best predictors of seasonal reproductive success. Clutch size showed a quadratic relationship with laying date. Female age and time of residency and indexes of parental condition such as discontinuities in feather growth or prevalence of ectoparasites had significant effects on breeding productivity. Repeatabilities of breeding performance for males, females or in territories were not significant.
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1439-0361
    Keywords: Sexual selection ; honest signalling ; non-passerines
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Description / Table of Contents: Zusammenfassung Die Struktur des Gesangs des Wiedehopfs wurde in einer farbberingten südspanischen Population untersucht. Der Gesang des Männchens ist sehr einfach und umfaßt nur ein Repertoire. Die Strophen eines Männchens differieren nur in der Anzahl Elemente (Strophenlänge), und die Männchen unterscheiden sich vor allem in der Strophenlänge voneinander. In der Vorbrutphase verwendeten die Männchen meist nur zwei verschieden lange Strophen, bestehend aus 2 und 6 Elementen je Strophe, und die durchschnittliche Strophenlänge war in dieser Phase sehr konstant. Nach Brutverlust oder bei kontinuierlich singenden, ledigen Männchen kam es zu einer Verkürzung der mittleren Strophenlänge. Die Strophenlänge ist phänotypisch plastisch, und lange Strophen zu singen scheint energetisch aufwendiger als kurze Strophen. Der enge Zusammenhang zwischen Strophenlänge und männlicher Konstitution einerseits und die Beobachtung, daß lange Strophen mit langen Pausen korrelieren andererseits, zeigen ebenfalls, daß längere Strophen energetisch aufwendiger sind. Die wirklichen Kosten dafür sind jedoch noch nicht bekannt.
    Notes: Summary The structure of Hoopoe (Upupa epops) song is analysed in a colour ringed population in southern Spain. The song of males in this species is very simple, with a repertoire size of one. The strophes of a male only differ in the number of elements that they include (strophe length), and strophe length is the main song feature differing between males. During the prelaying period each individual used mainly strophes of only two lengths, between 2 and 6 elements per strophe, and mean strophe length of males during this period was highly repeatable. However, some males changed the range of strophe types produced and decreased their mean strophe length after unsuccessful breeding or spending long periods of time singing (unpaired males). These changes show that strophe length is phenotypically plastic, and suggest that singing long strophes is energetically more costly than singing short ones. The significant relationship between strophe length and body condition, and the fact that long strophes were associated with longer previous pauses than short strophes, also suggest that increasing strophe length is costly. All these findings are in accordance with the hypothesis that strophe length reflects male condition in the Hoopoe, although it is not clear what the actual cost of singing long strophes is.
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