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Thermostability of eggs of hemi synanthropic populations of turdus merula and turdus philomelos



Thermostability of eggs of hemi synanthropic populations of turdus merula and turdus philomelos



Folia Zoologica 26(4): 363-376



Thermostability is one of the major aspects in egg incubation, particularly of avian species in which only the female incubates the eggs, e.g., in T. merula and T. philomelos. As the male of these species neither feeds the female nor alternates with her in the incubation, the female is compelled regularly to leave her nest and clutch. Although the female of these species builds a thick-walled nest, the eggs are exposed, during her absence from the nest, to the effects of weather, often unfavorable. The 1st clutches of both species occur in Czechoslovakia as early as March. Investigations on the thermostability of eggs are part of research on a wide range of problems pertaining to temperature regime in the nest during incubation of eggs. The aim of the study was to ascertain the variability of eggs in various clutches and to determine the parameters that are decisive in the cooling of the eggs, to elucidate the relationship between the duration of the female's absence from her nest and the possible phenomena showing negative effects on the embryonic development in the eggs. Measuring the dimensions and cooling of eggs in laboratory conditions (5 clutches of T. merula, totalling 22 eggs, underlying 76 measurings; 8 clutches of T. philomelos, totalling 35 eggs, underlying 85 measurings) has shown that: the length and width of the eggs, their weight, volume and thickness of the shell are significantly different in the 2 spp. under study when individual clutches are compared; with the given variability of the eggs and with the mean ambient temperature of 20.9.degree. C, the cooling of the eggs from 40-39.degree. C took 63.4 s in T. merula and 53.9 s in T. philomelos; with the given variability of the eggs, the thickness of the egg shell appeared to be the major factor influencing the rate of cooling.

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