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Sexual dimorphism and growth trade-offs in Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus nestlings.

Mainwaring, Mark C. and Dickens, Megan and Hartley, Ian R. (2011) Sexual dimorphism and growth trade-offs in Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus nestlings. Ibis, 153 (1). pp. 175-179. ISSN 0019-1019

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Abstract

The outcome of sibling competition for food is often determined by variation in body size within the brood and involves trade-offs; traits that enhance competitive ability within the nest may be developed at the expense of traits that enable effective flight at fledging, or vice versa. We quantified growth of skeletal, body mass and feather traits in male and female Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus nestlings. Males were significantly heavier, had longer tarsi and tended to have greater head-bill lengths than females, whereas females were similar to males in wing flight feather growth. These differences in growth may result from sexual differences in selection of the traits. Females are likely to prioritize feather growth to facilitate synchronized fledging with the rest of the brood, and to enhance escape from predators. We suggest that males are heavier and develop longer tarsi because body size is an important determinant of male reproductive success.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Ibis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cyanistes caeruleus ; growth trade-offs ; sexual dimorphism ; sibling competition
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 39966
Deposited By: Dr Ian R Hartley
Deposited On: 21 Mar 2011 08:58
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2013 20:43
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/39966

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