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Nest maintenance and stone theft in the Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) - 2. Effects of breeding group size

AuthorsCarrascal, Luis M. ; Moreno Klemming, Juan ; Amat, Juan A.
Issue Date1995
CitationPolar Biology 15: 541- 545 (1995)
AbstractThe intensity of stone collection and stone theft by breeding Chinstrap penguins was measured, and estimations made of the number of stones per nest in large (> 400 nests) and small subcolonies (< 50 nests) in the large Vapour Col colony on Deception Island, South Shetland Islands. Stone availability was significantly higher both inside and outside small subcolonies. Penguins carried stones to the nest at the same rate in large and small subcolonies, but stole more intensively in large subcolonies. Stones obtained by theft were significantly larger than those collected elsewhere. When stone availability was increased experimentally, individuals of large subcolonies collected more intensively than control individuals in large and small subcolonies, and stole significantly less than control individuals in large subcolonies, and as much as individuals in small subcolonies. The greater theft pressure in large subcolonies was accompanied by more aggressive defence by nest owners and by reduced succession stealing. However, the reduced availability of stones on the ground near large subcolonies led to a significantly lower number of stones per nest than in small subcolonies. These results are interpreted in the light of the geometric effects of breeding group size (perimeter to surface ratio) on stone accessibility. © 1995 Springer-Verlag.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/BF00239645
issn: 0722-4060
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