Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Are Birds' Eggs Speckled?

Date:
September 7, 2005
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
Most perching birds lay eggs speckled with reddish protoporphyrin spots toward the egg's blunt end. Evidence in a paper by Gosler, Higham & Reynolds soon to appear in Ecology Letters suggests that rather than giving a visual signal, protoporphyrins strengthen the eggshell by compensating for reduced eggshell-thickness caused by calcium deficiency. Pigment spots on great tit eggs specifically marked thinner areas of shell, and females nesting on low-calcium soils, laid thinner-shelled, more-spotted eggs.

Birds' eggs are unique in their diverse pigmentation. This diversity isgreatest amongst perching birds (order Passeriformes: 60% of all birdspecies), which include many familiar species including tits andwarblers. Despite intense interest, the purpose, in most species, ofthese patterns was unknown.

Most passerines lay eggs speckled with reddish protoporphyrin spotsforming a ring around the egg's blunt end, on an otherwise unpigmentedshell. Evidence in a paper by Gosler, Higham & Reynolds soon toappear in Ecology Letters now suggests that rather than giving a visualsignal, protoporphyrins strengthen the eggshell by compensating forreduced eggshell-thickness caused by calcium deficiency.

Pigmentspots on great tit eggs specifically marked thinner areas of shell,with darker spots marking yet thinner shell than paler spots, andfemales nesting on low-calcium soils, laid thinner-shelled,more-spotted eggs than those on high-calcium soils nearby. Pigmentationmay offer a way to assess eggshell quality.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Why Are Birds' Eggs Speckled?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050907095627.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2005, September 7). Why Are Birds' Eggs Speckled?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050907095627.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Why Are Birds' Eggs Speckled?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050907095627.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins