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Physiological Adaptations for Breeding in Birds$
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Tony D. Williams

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139821

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139821.001.0001

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Egg Size and Egg Quality

Egg Size and Egg Quality

Chapter:
(p.100) Chapter 4 Egg Size and Egg Quality
Source:
Physiological Adaptations for Breeding in Birds
Author(s):

Tony D. Williams

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691139821.003.0004

This chapter deals with variations in egg size and egg quality. Egg size is a highly variable life-history trait, with up to twofold differences in egg mass among individual females within a population. Larger eggs contain absolutely more major egg components (shell, albumen, yolk) and absolutely more of several minor egg components (maternally derived antibodies and antioxidants), and, in this regard, egg size is a good proxy for egg quality. Many studies assume that high-quality females produce large, high-quality eggs, but it is equally plausible that individual females produce eggs of the optimum size and quality for their phenotype or genotype. Either way, the aspects of a female's phenotype that would determine maximum or optimum egg size are unknown, although these are not primarily factors such as age, experience, body condition, or mate quality that continue to be the focus of much current work.

Keywords:   egg size, egg quality, female reproduction, avian reproduction, female birds

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