A brood parasite selects for its own egg traits
Many brood parasitic birds lay eggs that mimic their hosts' eggs in appearance. This typically arises from selection from discriminating hosts that reject eggs which differ from their own. However, selection on parasitic eggs may also arise from parasites themselves, because it should pay a laying parasitic female to detect and destroy another parasitic egg previously laid in the same host nest by a different female. In this study, I experimentally test the source of selection on greater honeyguide (Indicator indicator) egg size and shape, which is correlated with that of its several host species, all of which breed in dark holes. Its commonest host species did not discriminate against experimental eggs that differed from their own in size and shape, but laying female honeyguides preferentially punctured experimental eggs more than host or control eggs. This should improve offspring survival given that multiple parasitism by this species is common, and that honeyguide chicks kill all other nest occupants. Hence, selection on egg size in greater honeyguides parasitizing bee-eaters appears to be imposed not by host defences but by interference competition among parasites themselves.
Interspecific egg rejection as ecological collateral damage from selection driven by conspecific brood parasitism
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.02.010 0003-3472/© 2015 The Association for the Study of A Distinguishing between interspecific and intraspecific coevolution as the selective driver of traits can be difficult in some taxa. A previous study of an avian obligate brood parasite, the black-headed duck, Heteronetta atricapilla, suggested that egg rejection by its two main hosts (two species...متن کامل
Experimental Shifts in Intraclutch Egg Color Variation Do Not Affect Egg Rejection in a Host of a Non-Egg-Mimetic Avian Brood Parasite
Avian brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and impose the costs associated with rearing parasitic young onto these hosts. Many hosts of brood parasites defend against parasitism by removing foreign eggs from the nest. In systems where parasitic eggs mimic host eggs in coloration and patterning, extensive intraclutch variation in egg appearances may impair the host's abili...متن کامل
BACKGROUND Trait polymorphism can evolve as a consequence of frequency-dependent selection. Coevolutionary interactions between hosts and parasites may lead to selection on both to evolve extreme phenotypes deviating from the norm, through disruptive selection. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING Here, we show through detailed field studies and experimental procedures that the ashy-throated parrotb...متن کامل
Hosts of brood-parasitic birds must distinguish their own eggs from parasitic mimics, or pay the cost of mistakenly raising a foreign chick. Egg discrimination is easier when different host females of the same species each lay visually distinctive eggs (egg 'signatures'), which helps to foil mimicry by parasites. Here, we ask whether brood parasitism is associated with lower levels of correlati...متن کامل
Alternative mechanisms of increased eggshell hardness of avian brood parasites relative to host species.
Obligate brood parasitic birds lay their eggs in nests of other species and parasite eggs typically have evolved greater structural strength relative to host eggs. Increased mechanical strength of the parasite eggshell is an adaptation that can interfere with puncture ejection behaviours of discriminating hosts. We investigated whether hardness of eggshells is related to differences between phy...متن کامل