Allometric relations in three species of finches (Aves: Fringillidae)



Static nestling, adult and ontogenetic allometry were analysed in three species of finches. Static nestling allometry was very similar across age in early ontogeny and among species and could be approximated by a single matrix of phenotypic variances and covariances. The first eigenvector of this matrix showed negative allometry of bill and tarsus to mass, but positive for wing length to mass. Adult static allometry was also very similar among species, but differed from nestling pattern. In adults the bill had a positive allometry in relation to tarsus and wing, but negative to mass, while tarsus and wing were unrelated to mass. The ontogenetic allometry in each species was very similar to nestling static allometry. Viewed in relation to final size, bill characters grew more slowly than body characters, but for a longer time, which created the difference between adult and nestling allometric patterns. There were differences among species both with regard to elevation and slope of allometric coefficients, suggesting that the differences among species came about by changes in the three fundamental ontogenetic parameters namely growth rate, onset of growth and offset of growth.