Begging and provisioning of thin-billed prions, Pachyptila belcheri, are related to testosterone and corticosterone

Quillfeldt, Petra, Masello, Juan F., Strange, Ian J. and Buchanan, Katherine L. 2006, Begging and provisioning of thin-billed prions, Pachyptila belcheri, are related to testosterone and corticosterone, Animal behaviour, vol. 71, no. 6, pp. 1359-1369.

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Title Begging and provisioning of thin-billed prions, Pachyptila belcheri, are related to testosterone and corticosterone
Formatted title Begging and provisioning of thin-billed prions, Pachyptila belcheri, are related to testosterone and corticosterone
Author(s) Quillfeldt, Petra
Masello, Juan F.
Strange, Ian J.
Buchanan, Katherine L.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 71
Issue number 6
Start page 1359
End page 1369
Publisher Baillière, Tindall and Cassell [etc.].
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2006-06
ISSN 0003-3472
1095-8282
Summary Vigorous begging is usually seen as an expression of parent–offspring conflict over limited resources. Chicks signal need by begging, but the evolution of honest signals requires the signals to be costly. Although some possible costs have been identified, the cost-inducing mechanisms underlying this widely distributed signalling system remain unclear. Because hormones associated with stress and hunger (corticosterone) and aggressive behaviour (testosterone) have deleterious side-effects, signalling costs may be coupled to the expression of such hormones, if they are closely associated with the signal. We tested whether begging in chicks of thin-billed prions (Aves, Procellariiformes) is associated with secretion of corticosterone and testosterone. Prion chicks honestly signalled their nutritional state. Begging increased with decreased body condition, both within and between chicks. Adults responded to more intense begging by delivering larger meals. Chick testosterone levels were positively correlated with measures of begging intensity and the mean body condition of chicks was correlated positively with testosterone and negatively with corticosterone. In a cross-fostering experiment, the change in testosterone and corticosterone between control and experimental periods was positively correlated with the change in begging intensity. This is the first experimental evidence that the control of chick begging by endogenously produced testosterone and corticosterone may form a mechanism controlling parental provisioning in birds, and that chick behaviour can help to explain the variation in growth patterns between individual birds.
Language eng
Field of Research 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30018527

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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