Barn owls display larger black feather spots in cooler regions of the British Isles

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State: Public
Version: Final published version
Serval ID
serval:BIB_CB9E6E227135
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Barn owls display larger black feather spots in cooler regions of the British Isles
Journal
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Author(s)
Roulin Alexandre, Randin Christophe F.
ISSN
1095-8312
ISSN-L
0024-4066
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2016
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
119
Number
2
Pages
445-454
Language
english
Abstract
Although, in many organisms, genotypes are adapted to specific environmental conditions, the identification of the ecological factors explaining patterns of local adaptation is not a trivial task. In relation to the cosmopolitan barn owl (Tyto alba), its plumage varies from white to dark pheomelanic and shows a difference in the number and size of black spots located at the tip of ventral feathers. The expression of these traits is strongly heritable and weakly sensitive to variation in body condition. Therefore, if owls located in cold or rainy regions are differently plumaged compared to owls living in warm or dry regions, this may not be a result of climate affecting the expression of plumage traits. Instead, different plumages might be selected under different environmental conditions. We have found that, on the British Isles, comparatively larger spots are present on barn owls found in regions that are cooler in summer. This is similar to the findings of a previous study performed in North America and on continental Europe, raising the possibility that larger-spotted barn owls better cope in cold temperatures during the rearing period or that they are better adapted to some environmental factors prevailing in cooler summers.
Keywords
climate, colour polymorphism, melanin, temperature
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
05/03/2016 17:47
Last modification date
20/08/2019 16:46
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