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J Neurobiol. 2002 Jun 5;51(3):215-22.

Septum volume and food-storing behavior are related in parids.

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Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Uris Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The hippocampal formation (HF) of food-storing birds is larger than non-storing species, and the size of the HF in food-storing Black-Capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) varies seasonally. We examined whether the volume of the septum, a medial forebrain structure that shares reciprocal connections with the HF, demonstrates the same species and seasonal variation as has been shown in the HF. We compared septum volume in three parid species; non-storing Blue Tits (Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Parus major), and food-storing Black-Capped Chickadees. We found the relative septum volume to be larger in chickadees than in the non-storing species. We also compared septum and nucleus of the diagonal band (NDB) volume of Black-Capped Chickadees at different times of the year. We found that the relative septum volume varies seasonally in food-storing birds. The volume of the NDB does not vary seasonally. Due to the observed species and seasonal variation, the septum, like the hippocampal formation of food-storing birds, may be specialized for some aspects of food-storing and spatial memory.

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