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No evidence for survival selection on carotenoid-based nestling coloration in great tits (Parus major).

Authors
  • Fitze, P S
  • Tschirren, B
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of evolutionary biology
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2006
Volume
19
Issue
2
Pages
618–624
Identifiers
PMID: 16599936
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In several vertebrate species evidence supports the hypothesis that carotenoid-based coloration of adults has evolved due to sexual selection. However, in some birds already the nestlings display carotenoid-based coloration. Because the nestling's body plumage is typically moulted before the first reproductive event, sexual selection cannot explain the evolution of these carotenoid-based traits. This suggests that natural selection might be the reason for its evolution. Here we test whether the carotenoid-based nestling coloration of great tits (Parus major) predicts survival after fledging. Contrary to our expectation, the carotenoid-based plumage coloration was not related to short- nor to long-term survival in the studied population. Additionally, no prefledging selection was detectable in an earlier study. This indicates that the carotenoid-based coloration of nestling great tits is currently not under natural selection and it suggests that past selection pressures or selection acting on correlated traits may have led to its evolution.

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