Embryological staging of the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata



Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are the most commonly used laboratory songbird species, yet their embryological development has been poorly characterized. Most studies to date apply Hamburger and Hamilton stages derived from chicken development; however, significant differences in development between precocial and altricial species suggest that they may not be directly comparable. We provide the first detailed description of embryological development in the Zebra Finch under standard artificial incubation. These descriptions confirm that some of the features used to classify chicken embryos into stages are not applicable in an altricial bird such as the Zebra Finch. This staging protocol will help to standardize future studies of embryological development in the Zebra Finch. J. Morphol. 274:1090–1110, 2013. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Morphology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.