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Age-related changes of plasma alkaline phosphatase and inorganic phosphorus, and late ossification of the cranial roof in the spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti C. L. Brehm, 1861)

AuthorsDobado-Berrios, P.M.; Ferrer, Miguel
Issue Date1997
CitationPhysiological Zoology 70: 421- 427 (1997)
AbstractPlasma alkaline phosphatase and inorganic phosphorus levels were determined for 52 nestling Spanish imperial eagles from two wild populations and 22 captive adults and subadults (10 adults and 12 subadults). The exact age was known for all birds. Mean alkaline phosphatase and inorganic phosphorus were higher in chicks than in the captive adults and subadults. Sex differences were not observed, and nestlings from different populations showed similar values. No significant regression described the relationship between age and alkaline phosphatase or inorganic phosphorus throughout the nestling period. However, alkaline phosphatase and inorganic phosphorus decreased significantly throughout the subadult period, with age explaining 98.2% and 50.5% of the variation in alkaline phosphatase and inorganic phosphorus levels, respectively. Non-fully-ossified zones were measured in frontal bones of another 12 subadult eagles that died at known ages. Ossification increased throughout the subadult period and was significantly correlated with expected levels of alkaline phosphatase or inorganic phosphorus (i.e., values predicted from the regression equations derived from the first analysis). Minimum alkaline phosphatase levels and full ossification of the cranial roof coincided with puberty onset. We conclude that, in subadult Spanish imperial eagles, decreasing alkaline phosphatase and inorganic phosphorus values are related to the ossification of frontal bones, although a contribution of other unknown processes of late ossification cannot be excluded, and alkaline phosphatase (but not inorganic phosphorus) may be a useful parameter for age-predicting purposes.
Identifiersissn: 0031-935X
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