Test of an adaptive hypothesis for egg speckling along an evolutional gradient in a population of Mexican jays (Aphelocoma ultramarina)Journal of Avian Biology (2009)
AbstractThe adaptive significance of avian egg speckling patterns has been a subject of ongoing debate. We examined speckling in a population of Mexican jays Aphelocoma ultramarina exhibiting extreme eggshell variability. We sampled 167 eggs at 55 nests from sites ranging across a steep elevation gradient within the Sierra del Carmen mountain range in Coahuila, Mexico, in order to test the recent hypothesis that egg speckling lends structural support to eggs and should therefore be more prevalent in females subject to reduced environmental calcium. Although we documented high variation in the amount and distribution of eggshell speckling within the Sierra del Carmen jays, we found no relationship between local soil calcium levels and the pattern of speckling. Our results indicate that explanations in addition to soil calcium levels are necessary to explain extreme variation in eggshell speckling in birds.
Publication DateJuly, 2009
Citation InformationElena C. Berg, John E. McCormack and Thomas B. Smith. "Test of an adaptive hypothesis for egg speckling along an evolutional gradient in a population of Mexican jays (Aphelocoma ultramarina)" Journal of Avian Biology Vol. 40 Iss. 4 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_mccormack/8/