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Mothers provide similar care to related and unrelated chicks in quail

By Nadège Aigueperse, Cécilia Houdelier, Céline Nicolle, Sophie Lumineau

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Adoption is an usual procedure to experiment non-genomic influences on young development. However relatedness may be a variation factor of maternal behaviour who can recognize and/or discriminate her own young that non-related ones. Here we investigate the influence of relatedness on maternal and chicks' behaviour during breeding period in a precocial bird, the Japanese quail. We placed 2 non-related chicks and 2 related chicks with a mother (N = 24). We recorded their behaviour andtheir distance during the 11 days of mothering. Then we tested the emotivity and social development of chicks with 4 behavioural tests: openfield/novel object, emergence with sudden test for emotivity; separation and runway for social. We analysed the data with PCA, one for mothers' behaviour, one for chicks' behaviour and one for behaviouraldevelopment. We compared by GLMM the distances and the PCA factorial scores of the individuals. We had not noticed any difference of maternal behaviour (Factor 1: p = 0.71; Factor 2: p = 0.64), chicks' behaviour (Factor 1: p = 0.71; Factor 2: p = 0.64) and distances between individuals (P = 0.38) according to the relatedness of the chicks. Their emotivity (Factor 1: p = 0.39) and social (Factors 2 & 3: p = 0.80 & p = 0.90) profiles were not significantly different whether they were related or not. Our results had shown that relatedness was not a crucial factor of maternal behavioural variation in quail and raised the question about recognition and discrimination of the chicks by the mother in precocial solitary birds.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 232
Pages 105107
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2020.105107
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adoption
  2. Kinship
  3. Maternal effects
  4. recognition