Incubation temperature influences sex ratio and offspring ’s body composition in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

Canadian Journal of Zoology, e-First Articles. Incubation temperature has the potential to influence offspring sex, phenotype, and survival, particularly in species with temperature-dependent sex determination. However, relatively little is known about how incubation temperature affects sex ratio and offspring condition in other animals. Incubating birds allocate varying time for egg incubation depending on the parents ’ condition and ambient temperature, likely altering nest microclimate. To understand how incubation temperature impacts offspring phenotype in birds, we artificially incubated Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata (Vieillot, 1817)) eggs at 36.2, 37.4, or 38.4 °C during the entire incubation period an d examined sex ratio and offspring quality. We found that incubation temperature of 36.2 °C resulted in a greater likelihood of a young being male compared with 37.4 °C, indicating that it is more likely for males to survive until the juvenile stage compared with females in the 36.2 °C group. We also found sex-specific effects of incubation temperature on body composition. Although incubation temperature did not affect fat or lean mass of female young, male offspring from the 38.4 °C group had significantly less lean mass throughout their lives compared with males from 37.4 or 36.2 °C. Th is study shows that there are sex differences in the effects of incubation temperature, and variable incubation temperature has a capacity to influence o...
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology - Category: Zoology Authors: Source Type: research

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