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Green plants in nests reduce offspring recruitment rates in the spotless starling

AutorPolo, Vicente ; Rubalcaba, Juan G.; Veiga, José Pablo
Fecha de publicación8-jul-2015
EditorOxford University Press
International Society for Behavioral Ecology
CitaciónBehavioral Ecology 26(4): 1131-1137 (2015)
Resumen© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. All rights reserved. Although several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the function of fresh green plants in nests of many avian species, the consequences of this behavior on fitness remain poorly understood. In accordance with the nest protection and drug hypotheses, adding greenery to nests should be naturally selected to facilitate positive fitness effects on offspring. Alternatively, the courtship hypothesis postulates that green plants function as a sexually selected signal of male attractiveness that might promote female competition for preferred males. We conducted a long-term study by experimentally increasing the amount of green plants in nests of a wild population of spotless starlings (Sturnus unicolor). We experimentally decoupled the natural carrying behavior of males in half of the population and explored the consequences of this manipulation on offspring condition and their rate of local recruitment. Treatment did not affect the number of fledglings, but it did affect body mass and tarsus in a sexually antagonistic way: a positive effect on female tarsus length and negative on male body mass. The addition of greenery reduced the probability of local recruitment of both males and females. Our results suggest that the addition of green plants induces maternal response with complex short- and long-term consequences on the offspring body condition and recruitment success.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1093/beheco/arv056
e-issn: 1465-7279
issn: 1045-2249
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