Effect of an ectoparasite on lay date, nest-site choice, desertion, and hatching success in the great tit (Parus major)

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_707D6E22D4C4
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Effect of an ectoparasite on lay date, nest-site choice, desertion, and hatching success in the great tit (Parus major)
Journal
Behavioral Ecology
Author(s)
Oppliger Anne, Richner H., Christe P.
ISSN
1045-2249
Publication state
Published
Issued date
1994
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
5
Number
2
Pages
130-134
Language
english
Abstract
Ectoparasites are common in most bird species, but experimental evidence of their effects on life-history traits is scarce. We investigated experimentally the effects of the hematophagous hen flea (Ceratophyllus gallinae) on timing of reproduction, nest-site choice, nest desertion, clutch size, and hatching success in the great tit (Parus major). When great tits were offered a choice on their territory between an infested and a parasite-free nest-box, they chose the one without parasites. When there was no choice, the great tits in a territory containing an infested nest-box delayed laying the clutch by 11 days as compared with the birds that were offered a parasite-free nesting opportunity. The finding that there was no difference in phenotypic traits related to dominance between the birds nesting in infested boxes and birds nesting in parasite-free boxes suggests that the delay is not imposed by social dominance. Nest desertion between laying and shortly after hatching was significandy higher in infested nests. There was no difference between infested and parasite-free nests in clutch size, but hatching success and hence brood size at hatching were significantly smaller in infested nests. Nest-box studies of great tits have been seminal in the development of evolutionary, ecological, and behavioral theory, but recently a polemic has arisen in the literature about the validity of the conclusions drawn from nest-box studies where the naturally occurring, detrimental ectoparasites are eliminated by the routine removal of old nests between breeding seasons. Our study suggests that this criticism is valid and that the evaluation of the effects of ectoparasites may improve our understanding of behavioral traits, life-history traits, or population dynamics
Keywords
ectoparasites, great tit, hatching success, life-history traits, nest desertion, Parus major, timing of breeding
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
24/01/2008 20:14
Last modification date
01/10/2019 7:18
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