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Seasonal change in egg-volume variation within a clutch in the Bull-headed Shrike, Lanius bucephalus

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I studied the seasonal change in egg volume in Bull-headed Shrikes, Lanius bucephalus, to explore the importance of egg-volume variation within a clutch. The mean egg volume did not change over a season; however, the coefficient of variation in egg volume in six-egg clutches significantly increased in 1994 and 1995 but did not change in 1996. Peaks in arthropod biomass occurred early in the breeding seasons in 1994 and 1995, but late in the season in 1996. Higher food availability was related to a reduction in variation in egg volume within a clutch. A significant difference in egg volume was found within six-egg clutches, and the first egg was the smallest. Nestlings that hatched from small eggs early in the hatching order suffered lower mortality rates than nestlings that hatched from large eggs laid late in the hatching order. The duration of time between settlement of a female in a male territory and clutch initiation decreased with date. Intraclutch variation in egg volume may be caused by a trade-off between the time to develop an egg and the volume of the first egg within a clutch. Because eggs that hatch first do not need to be large for the hatchling to survive, the Bull-headed Shrikes may advance the clutch-initiation date at the cost of reducing the volume of the first egg.

J'ai étudié les changements saisonniers du volume des oeufs chez la pie-griêche bucéphale, Lanius bucephalus de façon à déterminer l'importance de ces variations dans une couvée. Le volume moyen des oeufs ne change pas au cours d'une saison; cependent, le coefficient de variation du volume des oeufs dans les couvées de six oeufs a augmenté significativement en 1994 et 1995, mais pas en 1996. La biomasse des arthropodes a atteint un sommet au début de la saison de reproduction en 1994 et 1995, mais à la fin de la saison en 1996. L'abondance plus grande de nourriture est reliée à une diminution de la variation du volume des oeufs au sein d'une couvée. Il y a des différences significatives de volume entre les oeufs dans les couvées de six oeufs et le premier oeuf pondu est le plus petit. Les oisillons éclos de petits oeufs tôt pendant la période de ponte subissent moins de mortalité que les oisillons issus de gros oeufs tard dans l'ordre des pontes. Le temps écoulé entre l'établissement d'une femelle dans le territoire d'un mâle et le début de sa période de ponte diminue avec la date. La variation du volume des oeufs au sein d'une couvée peut résulter d'un compromis entre la durée de développement des oeufs et le volume du premier oeuf pondu. Comme les oeufs pondus en premier n'ont pas besoin d'être gros pour que les oisillons survivent, les pies-grièches bucéphale peuvent avancer la date de leur première ponte, même si cela cause la réduction du premier oeuf qu'elles pondent.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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