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J Exp Biol. 2001 Aug;204(Pt 16):2843-8.

Effects of duration and time of food availability on photoperiodic responses in the migratory male blackheaded bunting (Emberiza melanocephala).

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1
Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow, India. drvkumar@sancharnet.in

Abstract

The effects of the duration and time of food availability on stimulation of the photoperiodic responses (fattening and gain in body mass, and growth and development of testes) were investigated in the migratory blackheaded bunting (Emberiza melanocephala). Two experiments were performed. Experiment I examined the effects of a reduction in the duration of food supply in buntings that were subjected to long day lengths (16h:8h L:D) and received food ad libitum (group I) or for restricted durations, coinciding with the end of the lights-on period, of 8h (group II) and 4h (group III). Buntings of group I gained in body mass, whereas there was a mixed response in group II (half the birds gained and half lost body mass), and all birds of group III lost body mass. There was no effect on testis growth in groups I and II, but testes grew more slowly in group III. Experiment 2 investigated the effects of both the duration and the time of food availability. Of five groups of birds, group I was exposed to an 8h:16h L:D photoperiod, and groups II-V were exposed to 16h:8h L:D. Whereas birds of groups I and II received food ad libitum, those of groups III-V were fed only for 5 h, at zt 0-5 (group III), zt 5.5-10.5 (group IV) or zt 11-16 (group V), where zt = zeitgeber time and zt 0 refers to the beginning of the lights-on period. Apart from duration, the timing of food availability also had an effect on photoperiodic stimulation under the 16h:8h L:D photoperiod. Birds that were fed ad libitum fattened and gained in body mass, whereas among restricted feeding groups, only birds in the group fed during the first 5 h (zt 0-5, group III) showed a significant increase in body mass (albeit considerably lower than in the ad libitum group). Birds fed during the middle 5h (zt 5.5-10.5, group IV) showed an intermediate response, and those fed during the last 5h (zt 11-16, group V) lost body mass. Testicular growth was suppressed in birds that were fed for 5 h in the evening, but not in those fed for the same period in the morning or in the middle of the long day. Taken together, these results show that the duration of food supply and/or the time of day at which food is available affect photoperiodic stimulation of fattening and gain in body mass as well as the growth and development of gonads in the blackheaded bunting.

PMID:
11683439
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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