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Early onset of incubation and eggshell bacterial loads in a temperate-zone cavity-nesting passerine

Investigation published in The Condor

February 1st, 2012

It has been hypothesized that incubation begins before laying is completed because it controls bacterial growth on eggshells and infection of eggs. If so, early incubation should be associated with decreased abundance of bacteria on eggshells. There is no detailed information on incubation during daytime or nighttime during laying and its association with bird eggshells’ bacterial loads. We used temperature sensors placed in contact with eggs and connected to data-loggers to measure early incubation by females of the Pied Flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca,a hole-nesting passerine, beginning with laying of the third egg (day 3). Incubation usually began with
laying of the fourth egg (day 4), the modal clutch size in our population being six. We sampled heterotrophic bacteria on eggshells from the whole clutch soon after it was completed. We used colony-forming units counted on trypticase soy agar to estimate bacterial loads. Clutches incubated more intensively during daytime on day 4 and
also during nighttime on days 3–5 had fewer bacteria on eggshells than clutches incubated less. The temperature of the air around the eggs seemed not the key explanatory variable for the eggshell’s bacterial loads, suggesting that mechanisms other than thermal changes associated with incubation may be more relevant to control of bacterial proliferation. Ours is the first study showing a correlation between increased incubation on the day incubation
begins during laying and a reduction in bacteria on the eggshells of wild birds. It supports the hypothesis that early incubation is an antimicrobial defense of the clutch




Ruiz de Castaneda R., Vela AI., Lobato E., Briones V. and Moreno J.




See this article
Early onset of incubation and eggshell bacterial loads in a temperate-zone cavity-nesting passerine





Participants:

Universidad ComplutenseServicio de Identificación y Caracterización Microbiana (ICM). Centro de Vigilancia Sanitaria Veterinaria (VISAVET). Universidad Complutense (UCM).

Universidad ComplutenseDepartamento de Sanidad Animal. Facultad de Veterinaria. Universidad Complutense (UCM).

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasDepartamento de Ecología Evolutiva. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN). Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).

Centre d´Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE).







The Condor
FACTOR YEAR Q
1.370 2012

NLMID: 206433

ISSN: 0010-5422



TITLE: Early onset of incubation and eggshell bacterial loads in a temperate-zone cavity-nesting passerine


JOURNAL: Condor


NUMERACIÓN: 114(1):203–211


AÑO: 2012


PUBLISHER: Cooper Ornithological Society


AUTHORS: Ruiz de Castaneda R., Vela AI., Lobato E., Briones V. and Moreno J.


VISAVET PARTICIPANTS


2nd
Ana Isabel Vela Alonso
4th
Víctor Briones Dieste

DOI: https://doi.org/ 10.1525/cond.2011.100230


CITE THIS PUBLICATION:

Ruiz de Castaneda R., Vela AI., Lobato E., Briones V. and Moreno J. Early onset of incubation and eggshell bacterial loads in a temperate-zone cavity-nesting passerine. The Condor. 114(1):203–211. 2012. (A). ISSN: 0010-5422. DOI: 10.1525/cond.2011.100230


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