Bill Morphology (bill + morphology)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION ON A LOCAL SCALE: DEVELOPMENTAL, FUNCTIONAL, AND GENETIC BASES OF DIVERGENCE IN BILL FORM AND ASSOCIATED CHANGES IN SONG STRUCTURE BETWEEN ADJACENT HABITATS

EVOLUTION, Issue 8 2008
Alexander V. Badyaev
Divergent selection on traits involved in both local adaptation and the production of mating signals can strongly facilitate population differentiation. Because of its links to foraging morphologies and cultural inheritance song of birds can contribute particularly strongly to maintenance of local adaptations. In two adjacent habitats,native Sonoran desert and urban areas,house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) forage on seeds that are highly distinct in size and shell hardness and require different bite forces and bill morphologies. Here, we first document strong and habitat-specific natural selection on bill traits linked to bite force and find adaptive modifications of bite force and bill morphology and associated divergence in courtship song between the two habitats. Second, we investigate the developmental basis of this divergence and find that early ontogenetic tissue transformation in bill, but not skeletal traits, is accelerated in the urban population and that the mandibular primordia of the large-beaked urban finches express bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) earlier and at higher level than those of the desert finches. Further, we show that despite being geographically adjacent, urban and desert populations are nevertheless genetically distinct corroborating findings of early developmental divergence between them. Taken together, these results suggest that divergent selection on function and development of traits involved in production of mating signals, in combination with localized learning of such signals, can be very effective at maintaining local adaptations, even at small spatial scales and in highly mobile animals. [source]


Phylogeny, biogeography, and recurrent evolution of divergent bill types in the nectar-stealing flowerpiercers (Thraupini: Diglossa and Diglossopis)

BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Issue 1 2009
WILLIAM M. MAUCK III
Neotropical tanagers known as flowerpiercers (Diglossa and Diglossopis) have a novel feeding adaptation, comprising a downward curved hook on the maxilla that allows these species to obtain floral nectar without pollination. Using mitochondrial DNA sequences, the phylogenetic relationships of all 18 species of flowerpiercers were studied for the first time. Strong support was found for the monophyly of flowerpiercers and for the monophyly of four superspecies within flowerpiercers. However, previously described species-groups, as well as the genus Diglossopis, are not monophyletic. The biogeographic origin of flowerpiercers was identified as Andean, with a single dispersal event from the northern Andes to Central America and a single dispersal event from the northern Andes to the tepuis. The first principal component, representing a contrast between hook size and bill size, was mapped onto the phylogeny to examine the evolution of relative hook size in the group. Across the phylogeny, a relatively large hook and a relatively small hook evolved multiple times in unrelated lineages, indicating lability in bill morphology. Differences in hook size among sympatric species, together with habitat partitioning and behavioural differences, can explain the coexistence of multiple species of flowerpiercers at the same locality. 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 98, 14,28. [source]


Individual feeding specialisation in shorebirds: population consequences and conservation implications

BIOLOGICAL REVIEWS, Issue 4 2000
SARAH E. A. LE V. DIT DURELL
ABSTRACT Individual feeding specialisation in shorebirds is reviewed, and the possible mechanisms involved in such specialisations. Any specialisation can be seen as an individual strategy, and the optimum strategy for any given individual will be conditional upon its specific priorities and constraints. Some specialisations are related to social status and some to individual skills. Some are also probably frequency-dependent. However, most shorebird specialisations are constrained to a large extent by individual morphology, particularly bill morphology. For example, larger birds are able to handle larger prey, and birds with longer bills are able to feed on more deeply buried prey. Sex differences in bill length are uncommon in the Charardriidae, which are surface peckers, but are common in the Scolopacidae, which feed by probing in soft substrates. Sex differences in bill morphology are frequently associated with sex differences in feeding specialisation. There is evidence that different feeding specialisations are associated with different payoffs, in which case the probability of failing to reproduce or of dying will not be distributed equally throughout the population. I consider the population consequences of such feeding specialisations, particularly the different risks and benefits associated with different habitats or diets. I also consider the way in which individuals may differ in their response to habitat loss or change. I suggest that population models designed to predict the effect of habitat loss or change on shorebirds should have the ability to investigate the differential response of certain sections of the population, particularly different ages or sexes, that specialise in different diets or feeding methods. [source]