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Habitat difference in food abundance possibly causes within-population variation in the timing of breeding in the Madagascar paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata)

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Within-population variation in the timing of breeding in the insectivorous Madagascar paradise flycatcher, Terpsiphone mutata (L., 1766), was investigated in a dry forest of northwestern Madagascar. The study area was divided into two sites (namely, A and B) based on the distance from the waterside. An examination was conducted to determine whether the date of egg laying varies between the two sites, and if it does vary, what are the environmental factors that affect the variation. The females started egg laying significantly earlier at site B than at site A. The two sites are located in a continuous forest; hence, photoperiod and precipitation would not differ between them. The number of insects was higher at site B than at site A. The difference in the temperature was not considered to be the cause of the variation in the date of egg laying. Age structure of the females was not likely to differ between the sites. Therefore, the variation in the date of egg laying is considered to be caused by the difference in food abundance that is associated with the relative distance from the waterside.

Cette étude examine la variation du calendrier de la reproduction à l'intérieur d'une population du tchitrec malgache, Terpsiphone mutata (L., 1766), un oiseau insectivore, dans une forêt sèche du nord-ouest de Madagascar. La région d'étude est divisée en deux sites (A et B) d'après la distance du bord de l'eau. Il s'agit de savoir si les dates de la ponte des oeufs varient d'un site à l'autre et, en cas de variation, de trouver les facteurs du milieu qui l’expliquent. Les femelles commencent à pondre significativement plus tôt au site B qu'au site A. Puisque les deux sites se trouvent dans une forêt continue, la photopériode et les précipitations ne diffèrent pas d'un site à l'autre. Le nombre d'insectes est plus important au site B qu'au site A. Les différences de température ne sont pas considérées comme la cause de la variation du calendrier de ponte. La structure en âge ne varie vraisemblablement pas entre les sites. En conséquence, la variation dans les dates de ponte des oeufs est, semble-t-il, causée par une différence d'abondance de nourriture reliée à la distance relative du bord de l'eau.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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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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