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Eggshell pigmentation has no evident effects on offspring viability in common kestrels

AuthorsFargallo, Juan A. ; López-Rull, Isabel ; Miksík, Ivan; Eckhardt, Adam; Peralta-Sánchez, Juan M.
Issue Date1-Apr-2014
CitationEvolutionary Ecology 28(4): 627-637 (2014)
AbstractInfectious diseases and parasitism are major environmental forces decreasing fitness, and thus individual strategies aimed at preventing pathogen infections, either in an individual or their offspring, should be favoured by natural selection. The mineral fraction and some organic compounds in the shells of bird eggs are considered physical and chemical barriers against pathogen penetration to the embryo. However, eggshell pigment deposition has only recently been considered as a mechanism to resist pathogen penetration into the egg. By wiping the eggshell surface, the amount of pigment and some cuticle proteins were experimentally manipulated for the first time in nature. The effects on egg hatchability and offspring viability measured as nestling condition, immunocompetence and probability of recruitment were investigated in the common kestrel Falco tinnunculus. Protoporphyrin IX and biliverdin IXα to a lesser extent were the only identified pigments. The concentration of protoporphyrin IX and cuticle proteins were significantly reduced in the wiped with respect to the control treatment. Our study shows no evidence of a detrimental effect of the reduction of eggshell pigments on egg hatchability, mortality of the chicks during the nesting period, nestling body condition, nestling local immune response to PHA antigen or probability of recruitment. Further research will be necessary to elucidate the direct role of protoporphyrins and other pigments in egg bacterial infection. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10682-014-9700-4
issn: 0269-7653
e-issn: 1573-8477
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(EEZA) Artículos
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