The Relationship between Egg Size and Chick Size in the Laughing Gull and Japanese Quail

Montevecchi, William A. and Ricklefs, Robert E. and Hahn, D. Caldwell (1978) The Relationship between Egg Size and Chick Size in the Laughing Gull and Japanese Quail. Auk, 95 (1). pp. 135-144. ISSN 1938-4254

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Variation in the water, lipid, and nonlipid dry matter of eggs and newly hatched chicks of the Laughing Gull and Japanese Quail was related to variation in the size of the egg. Egg contents of the two species were, on average, very similar. Yolk size varied in direct proportion to egg size, but in the quail large eggs contained disproportionately low levels of lipid and high levels of nonlipid dry matter. The composition of the newly hatched gull chick closely resembled that of the newly hatched quail. With increasing egg size, and thus chick size, water level increased and lipid level decreased in the gull chick, whereas lipid level increased in the quail chick. Among body organs, the integument of the gull exhibited a disproportionate increase with an increase in egg size, owing mostly to the accumulation of water; in the quail, the legs were the only organs to increase out of proportion to increase in body size. Disproportionate decreases in body proportion with increasing chick size appeared mostly in the head, stomach, and intestine components of both species. Variation in proportions of lipid and water in the chick related to egg size is discussed in terms of (1) ecological requirements of newly hatched chicks, (2) sibling competition within broods, and (3) stage of development of the young at hatching.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 1988
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: January 1978
Date Type: Publication
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