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Reduced Egg Investment Can Conceal Helper Effects in Cooperatively Breeding Birds

Russell, A.F.; Langmore, Naomi; Cockburn, Andrew; Astheimer, Lee B; Kilner, Rebecca


Cooperative breeding systems are characterized by nonbreeding helpers that assist breeders in offspring care. However, the benefits to offspring of being fed by parents and helpers in cooperatively breeding birds can be difficult to detect. We offer experimental evidence that helper effects can be obscured by an undocumented maternal tactic. In superb fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), mothers breeding in the presence of helpers lay smaller eggs of lower nutritional content that produce lighter...[Show more]

CollectionsANU Research Publications
Date published: 2007
Type: Journal article
Source: Science
DOI: 10.1126/science.1146037


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