Broad ecological shifts can render previously adaptive traits nonfunctional. It is an open question as to how and how quickly nonfunctional traits decay once the selective pressures that favored them are removed. The village weaverbird (Ploceus cucullatus) avoids brood parasitism by rejecting foreign eggs. African populations have evolved high levels of within-clutch uniformity as well as individual distinctiveness in egg color and spotting, a combination that facilitates identification of foreign eggs. In a companion study, I showed that these adaptations in egg appearance declined following introductions of weavers into habitats devoid of egg-mimicking brood parasites. Here, I use experimental parasitism in two ancestral and two introduced populations to test for changes in egg rejection behavior while controlling for changes in egg appearance. Introduced populations reject foreign eggs less frequently, but the ability of source and introduced populations to reject foreign eggs does not differ after controlling for the evolution of egg color and spotting. Therefore, egg rejection behavior in introduced populations of the village weaver has been compromised by changes in egg appearance, but there has been no significant decline in the birds' ability to recognize foreign eggs. This result reconciles earlier studies on this system and provides insights into the ways behavior can change over generations, especially in the context of recognition systems and the avoidance of brood parasitism.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.