Hosts' responses to parasitic eggs

Which cues elicit hosts' egg discrimination?

C. Moskát, Tamás Székely, Innes C. Cuthill, T. Kisbenedek

Research output: Article

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many hosts of the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) exhibit egg recognition, and reject parasitic eggs. How do hosts discriminate cuckoo eggs from their own? Hosts might be able to recognize their own eggs using the specific pigment pattern on the outer eggshell surface, which may serve as a cue for recognition. We tested if patterns of egg pigments (spottedness) contain this information by manipulating spot density of great reed warbler eggs (Acrocephalus arundinaceus). We also manipulated the colour of eggs when the original spot pattern remained the same. Spot density (approximately 15-75%) did not significantly affect rejection rate (8-20% rejection), but when spots fully covered the eggs, i.e. the eggshell was plain dark brown, rejection rate increased abruptly to 100%. A loglinear model revealed the significant influence of colour on rejection rates, although there was no interactive effect between spottedness and colour. Our results strongly support the differential use of egg markers in host's egg discrimination, suggesting that spot density has limited importance compared to eggshell colour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalEthology
Volume114
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - febr. 2008

Fingerprint

Eggs
Cues
Ovum
egg shell
Egg Shell
egg
Cuculus canorus
color
Color
pigments
eggshell
Songbirds
pigment
Discrimination (Psychology)
Rejection (Psychology)
Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Recognition (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Hosts' responses to parasitic eggs : Which cues elicit hosts' egg discrimination? / Moskát, C.; Székely, Tamás; Cuthill, Innes C.; Kisbenedek, T.

In: Ethology, Vol. 114, No. 2, 02.2008, p. 186-194.

Research output: Article

Moskát, C. ; Székely, Tamás ; Cuthill, Innes C. ; Kisbenedek, T. / Hosts' responses to parasitic eggs : Which cues elicit hosts' egg discrimination?. In: Ethology. 2008 ; Vol. 114, No. 2. pp. 186-194.
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