Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Intraclutch egg-size variation and offspring survival in the Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:Amat, JA, Fraga, RM, Arroyo, GM
Date Published:2001
ISBN Number:1474-919X
Keywords:Charadriidae, Charadrius, Charadrius alexandrinus, Spain
Abstract:We studied the consequences of intraclutch egg-size variation in Kentish Plovers Charadrius alexandrinus in southern Spain to test the hypothesis that females allocate resources preferentially to eggs with the greatest survival potential. Second eggs were larger and had a greater hatching success than the other eggs in a clutch. However, we did not find unequivocal support for the differential allocation hypothesis, because egg failures according to laying order were not due to the causes predicted by the hypothesis, and the change in egg-size with laying order was not consistent between successive clutches of renesting females. This suggests that nutrient availability during egg formation could act as a proximate factor affecting egg-size independently of laying order. Larger eggs produced heavier chicks and, within broods, heavier chicks were most likely to be recruited into the breeding population. By laying clutches with a larger mean egg volume in replacement clutches, females took longer to lay again after failure of the first clutch. Thus, opposing selective forces may act to increase and decrease egg volume. Although a trade-off between egg-size and clutch-size has not been found in precocial birds, our results suggest that there may be a trade-off between egg-size and fecundity, since an increase in the size of eggs within clutches may limit the time remaining within the season to lay second or replacement clutches.
Short Title:Ibis
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith