Title
Moorhens have an internal representation of their own eggs Moorhens have an internal representation of their own eggs
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Berlin ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Die Naturwissenschaften / Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften [München] - Berlin
Volume/pages
96(2009) :3 , p. 405-407
ISSN
0028-1042
ISI
000263782800010
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
How do birds recognize their own eggs? Do they have a stored template for their own egg characteristics, or do they use another mechanism? Intraspecific brood parasitism is considered to be an additional reproductive tactic where females can increase their own reproductive success. Because of the costs involved in rearing young that are not their own, it will pay females to detect and reject the eggs of a parasite, although it is not known how they do this. Here, we show experimentally that moorhens will cease laying in a nest when their first egg is replaced with another hens egg but not when it is replaced with their own egg taken from an earlier clutch. This provides good evidence that birds have an internal representation of their own eggs and use this in decisions about whether to reject foreign eggs.
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