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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Endogenous gonadal, LH and molt rhythms in tropical stonechats: effect of pair bond on period, amplitude, and pattern of circannual cycles.

To investigate the effects of reproduction and associated stimuli on the circannual cycles of African stonechats Saxicola torquata axillaris birds were held for 29 months in aviaries under a constant equatorial (12.25 h) photoperiod, either singly (10 females and 10 males) or in 10 male/female pairs. The birds of all 3 groups went through circannual cycles in gonadal size, plasma LH and molt, but groups differed with regard to actual reproductive performance. During the second cycle, only one of the singly-held females laid eggs and incubated. In contrast, in the paired females egg-laying and incubation occurred in all but one bird. About 50% of the clutches from paired females contained fertilized eggs confirming the expectation of behavioral differences between the paired and unpaired birds. However, despite differences in reproductive performance there were no differences in either circannual period or duration of reproductive phases. Moreover, there was no correlation between number of broods produced per season and circannual parameters of the paired females. Therefore, the temporal course and, particularly, the period during which reproduction is possible is rigidly determined by an endogenous program that is not influenced by reproductive performance. A rigid program of this kind may be advantageous in the tropics because it prevents prolongation of the breeding season in years with favourable conditions which in turn could jeopardize optimal timing of breeding in the following year and thus reduce lifetime reproductive success.[1]


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