Title
Reversed hatching order, body condition and corticosterone levels in chicks of southern rockhopper penguins (**Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome**)Reversed hatching order, body condition and corticosterone levels in chicks of southern rockhopper penguins (**Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome**)
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Research group
Behavioural Ecology & Ecophysiology
Publication type
article
Publication
New York,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
General and comparative endocrinology. - New York
Volume/pages
169(2010):3, p. 244-249
ISSN
0016-6480
ISI
000283969400009
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In altricial and semi-altricial species, asynchronous hatching gives the first chicks to hatch an initial advantage over other siblings and often leads to the elimination of the smallest chicks. Both baseline corticosterone and acute stress-induced corticosterone levels have been shown to be higher in food deprived chicks than in chicks fed ad libitum. However, first-hatched chicks have also been shown to exhibit higher corticosterone levels than last-hatched chicks, suggesting an influence of the initial differences between eggs on corticosterone levels. We subjected single-chicks of southern rockhopper penguins Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome to a standardised capture-stress protocol. In this species having very dimorphic two-egg clutches, we examined whether corticosterone levels were different between the two chick categories and tested for the effect of body condition controlled by the chick category. Neither body sizes, nor corticosterone levels differed between A- and B-chicks at 18 days. In contrast to baseline corticosterone levels, acute stress-induced levels of corticosterone were negatively correlated to body condition: chicks with a good body condition had lower acute stress-induced levels of corticosterone than chicks with a poor condition, whatever the chick category. Our results do not support the idea that initial differences in egg characteristics could drive the difference in corticosterone levels between siblings. On the contrary, they show that the A-egg of rockhopper penguins has, when reared alone, the same intrinsic potential to develop into a fledged chick as the B-egg. Later differences in body condition appear to lead to variation in the acute stress-induced levels of corticosterone.
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