Specialization in the choice and use of spider silk in the nest of the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (Aves, Fringillidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1992
Authors:Storer, NP, Hansell, MH
Journal:Journal of Natural History
Volume:26
Issue:6
Date Published:1992
ISBN Number:0022-2933
Keywords:Fringilla, Fringilla coelebs, Fringillidae
Abstract:The chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, is one of a large number of birds from many families that use silk in the construction of their nests. Thirty-eight chaffinch nests collected from around the UK were examined to determine the nature and role of silk in nest construction. A regular survey of web, retreat and cocoon silk availability was made at a study site close to Glasgow, Scotland, over a 12 month period. The only spider web silk found in the nests was of the type produced by cribellate spiders. The majority of silk in nests, however, was spider cocoons, but there was no correlation between the amount of cocoon and web silk used. Nests with more lichen decoration contained more silk, and cocoon silk was particularly associated with the attachment of lichen. Nest construction at the study site took place from late April to mid-May. When nest building began, the availability of suitable web silk had doubled from its winter (lowest) level; however, its abundance continued to rise sharply until the end of May. The possible influence of silk availability on the timing of chaffinch nesting is discussed.The chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, is one of a large number of birds from many families that use silk in the construction of their nests. Thirty-eight chaffinch nests collected from around the UK were examined to determine the nature and role of silk in nest construction. A regular survey of web, retreat and cocoon silk availability was made at a study site close to Glasgow, Scotland, over a 12 month period. The only spider web silk found in the nests was of the type produced by cribellate spiders. The majority of silk in nests, however, was spider cocoons, but there was no correlation between the amount of cocoon and web silk used. Nests with more lichen decoration contained more silk, and cocoon silk was particularly associated with the attachment of lichen. Nest construction at the study site took place from late April to mid-May. When nest building began, the availability of suitable web silk had doubled from its winter (lowest) level; however, its abundance continued to rise sharply until the end of May. The possible influence of silk availability on the timing of chaffinch nesting is discussed.
URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00222939200770801
Short Title:Journal of Natural History
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