Maternal Effects Influences and Sexual Behaviors in The Zebra Finch Essay

Maternal Effects Influences and Sexual Behaviors in The Zebra Finch Essay

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Forstmeier, W., Coltman, D. W., & Birkhead, T. R. (2004). Maternal effects influence the sexual behavior of sons and daughters in the zebra finch. Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution, 58(11), 2574-2583.
The authors sought to present data on maternal effect on offspring sexual behavior in the zebra finch and whether these variation were due to environmental factors or byproducts of embryotic development. Little is known about the variant causes in both sons and daughters, though research suggests that carotenoids, vitamins, and immune factors become reduced as the laying order increases, giving the initial eggs the most resources. Factors looked at include hatching order, broad size, foster environment, and laying order. Some of the hypothesis presented where that individuals hatching early, hatching in small broads (more resources per egg), and early laying order would have better sexual selection traits in either sex. Another question was whether mothers have the effect of creating both male and female eggs with equally strong sexual selection traits like choosiness and song rate. In the study, male sexual behavior was measured by the aggressiveness expressed towards other males and song rate presented to females. Female sexual behavior was quantified in their choosiness of a male partner; one that is best or several to make up for not having the best one male. The maternal influence referred to in the study is not parental care like infant nutrition or predator deterrence, rather the composition of the offspring when the egg was laid.
The study included a sample size of 104 male and 104 female zebra finches. These were collected from the University of Sheffield. Most, 72%, of the clutches of eggs from thes...


... middle of paper ...


...sa. This would suggest that it is not only the presence of maternal testosterone that accounts for differences in diversity, more factors must be involved. There was no significant variation correlation found between the initial nesting care of the zebra finch and song rate as this study and several others found. This supporting the idea that heritable traits are the most influential and are the ones the females are selecting for rather than size. Most often the strongest offspring are looked as the ones to parent the most offspring, it was interesting to explore the way the latent laid eggs still acted to increase their fecundity with the resources given, mating with more males rather than the monogamy seen with ‘”better” quality females. Even the males make-up for lack of aggressiveness or adequate song rather by expending more energy in better parental care.


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