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Plumage brightness and uropygial gland secretions in barn swallows
Univ Paris Saclay, Univ Paris Sud, AgroParisTech, Ecol Systemat Evolut,CNRS, Batiment 362, F-91405 Orsay, France.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6765-8761
2019 (English)In: Current Zoology, ISSN 1674-5507, Vol. 65, no 2, p. 177-182Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The uropygial gland has been hypothesized to play a role in sexual signaling through a "make-up" function derived from the effects of secretions from the gland on the appearance of the plumage and bare parts of the body. Here we show that plumage brightness of dorsal feathers of individual barn swallows Hirundo rustica was greater in mated than in unmated individuals. In addition, plumage brightness increased with colony size. Furthermore, plumage brightness was positively correlated with the amount of wax in the uropygial gland, negatively correlated with time of sampling of uropygial wax (perhaps because more wax is present early in the morning after an entire night of wax production without any preening), and negatively correlated with the number of chewing lice that degrade the plumage. Experimentally preventing barn swallows from access to the uropygial gland reduced plumage brightness, showing a causal link between secretions from the uropygial gland and plumage brightness. These findings provide evidence consistent with a role of uropygial secretions in signaling plumage brightness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS , 2019. Vol. 65, no 2, p. 177-182
Keywords [en]
brightness, coloration, preening wax, sexual selection, uropygial gland
National Category
Zoology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390285DOI: 10.1093/cz/zoy042ISI: 000472807800006PubMedID: 30936906OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390285DiVA, id: diva2:1349688
Available from: 2019-09-09 Created: 2019-09-09 Last updated: 2019-09-09Bibliographically approved

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