Interannual repeatability of eggshell phenotype in individual female common Murres (Uria aalge)

Mark Erno Hauber, Alec Luro, C. J. McCarty, Ketti Barateli, Phillip Cassey, Erpur S. Hansen, James Dale

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

The recognition of own progeny is critical in group-living organisms that provide parental care for their young. The colonial seabird Common Murre (Uria aalge (Pontoppidan, 1763); also known as the Common Guillemot) does not build a nest, so direct cues must be available for the parents to recognize their own egg. However, only anecdotal evidence exists that, as seen in other avian lineages where examined, eggshells of Common Murres are also consistent in most aspects of their appearance between different breeding attempts by each female. Using digital photography, we quantified several eggshell traits of a handful of captive Common Murres across multiple years. Individual female Common Murre eggs were significantly repeatable in background colour, maculation coverage, spot shape, and shell size. Laying individually consistent and recognizable eggshells across breeding attempts may benefit Common Murres by reducing both the cost of relearning and the risk of misidentifying their own eggs. More generally, these data also add to the growing knowledge of individually consistent eggshell genesis by the avian reproductive system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-391
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian journal of zoology
Volume97
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

eggshell
egg shell
repeatability
phenotype
egg
breeding
Alcidae
parental care
reproductive system
digital images
photography
seabird
seabirds
nest
nests
shell
Uria aalge
color
organisms
cost

Keywords

  • Coloniality
  • Colouration
  • Common murre
  • Discrimination
  • Egg recognition
  • Maculation
  • Uria aalge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Interannual repeatability of eggshell phenotype in individual female common Murres (Uria aalge). / Hauber, Mark Erno; Luro, Alec; McCarty, C. J.; Barateli, Ketti; Cassey, Phillip; Hansen, Erpur S.; Dale, James.

In: Canadian journal of zoology, Vol. 97, No. 4, 01.01.2019, p. 385-391.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Hauber, Mark Erno ; Luro, Alec ; McCarty, C. J. ; Barateli, Ketti ; Cassey, Phillip ; Hansen, Erpur S. ; Dale, James. / Interannual repeatability of eggshell phenotype in individual female common Murres (Uria aalge). In: Canadian journal of zoology. 2019 ; Vol. 97, No. 4. pp. 385-391.
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