Present address: Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter in Cornwall, Tremough, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK.
Effects of neonatal nutrition on adult reproduction in a passerine bird
Version of Record online: 15 JUN 2006
Volume 148, Issue 3, pages 509–514, July 2006
How to Cite
BLOUNT, J. D., METCALFE, N. B., ARNOLD, K. E., SURAI, P. F. and MONAGHAN, P. (2006), Effects of neonatal nutrition on adult reproduction in a passerine bird. Ibis, 148: 509–514. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00554.x
- Issue online: 15 JUN 2006
- Version of Record online: 15 JUN 2006
- Received 4 May 2005; revision accepted 31 January 2006.
Effects of neonatal nutrition on adult reproductive performance have been little studied. In Zebra Finches Taeniopygia guttata, poor neonatal nutrition is known to be associated with reduced blood antioxidant levels in adulthood, which could impair reproductive performance. Here, we compare the effects of standard-quality (SQ) or lower-quality (LQ) neonatal nutrition on components of fecundity. Compared with controls, LQ birds took longer to initiate egg-laying, and then laid eggs at a slower rate. LQ birds did not, however, show reduced clutch mass or size, or yolk antioxidant levels (retinol; α- or γ-tocopherol; carotenoids). Zebra Finches breed opportunistically, often only once in their short lifetime. Therefore, the timing but also the number and quality of eggs are critical fitness-related traits. Our results indicate that LQ birds had impaired reproductive capacity, suggesting resource accumulation constraints. Maximizing egg number and quality appears to have been more important than rapid egg production.