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Birds of Indian Subcontinent

The analysis of common cuckoo's egg shape in relation to its hosts' in two geographically distant areas

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2011
Authors:Bán, M, Barta, Z, Muñoz, AR, Takasu, F, Nakamura, H, Moskát, C
Journal:Journal of Zoology
Volume:284
Issue:2
Date Published:2011
ISBN Number:1469-7998
Keywords:Acrocephalidae, Acrocephalus, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, Acrocephalus orientalis, Acrocephalus palustris, Acrocephalus scirpaceus, adaptation, brood parasitism, coevolution, Cuculidae, Cuculus, Cuculus canorus, egg shape, Emberiza, Emberiza godlewskii, Emberiza spodocephala, Emberizidae, Erithacus, Erithacus rubecula, Laniidae, Lanius, Lanius bucephalus, mimicry, Muscicapidae
Abstract:Abstract Evolutionary adaptations are required by common cuckoos Cuculus canorus to match host eggs. Hosts may discriminate against alien eggs; hence, accurate matching of the parasite egg to the hosts' is essential. Egg shape is the least-studied component of egg mimicry, and it may also have other functions: an optimal egg shape is necessary for effective incubation. For this reason, cuckoo eggs may show a wide range of variations in shape to a set of host species. Here, we compare cuckoo and host eggs by using egg shape parameters in two distant areas: from the nests of great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus, robins Erithacus rubecula and marsh warblers Acrocephalus palustris in Hungary, and oriental reed warblers Acrocephalus orientalis, bull-headed shrikes Lanius bucephalus and black-faced buntings Emberiza spodocephala from Japan. Our results suggest the lack of evolutionary adaptation of different cuckoo gentes to their corresponding hosts in terms of egg shape. However, our analyses revealed that cuckoo eggs showed a geographical difference in egg shape.
URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00795.x
Short Title:Journal of Zoology
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