Variation in the train morphology of peacocks (Pavo cristatus)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1996
Authors:M. Petrie, Cotgreave, P., Stewart, I.
Journal:Journal of Zoology
Pagination:365 - 371
Date Published:1996
Keywords:age, evolution

A sample of full-trained adult male peacocks was collected and measured to determine whether or not there were any morphological correlates of train elaboration. Peacocks with longer or heavier trains are those with relatively large fat reserves for their overall body mass. The proportion of feathers in the train which have eyespots is also greater in peacocks with a relatively large muscle. These relationships indicate that train elaboration may be condition-dependent. Females that prefer males with larger trains may therefore gain good condition males, which may reflect overall genetic quality. There is also a significant tendency for larger trained peacocks to have high louse loads, after controlling for body mass. It may be that larger-trained males are older, and have accrued more lice than younger ones. Alternatively, long-trained males may have acquired more lice through direct contact with more females than shorter-trained birds.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith