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J Comp Psychol. 2010 May;124(2):133-8. doi: 10.1037/a0018006.

The direction and range of ambient temperature change influences yawning in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus).

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Department of Biological Sciences, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13901, USA.


Comparative research suggests that yawning is a thermoregulatory behavior in homeotherms. Our previous experiments revealed that yawning increased in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) as ambient temperature was raised toward body temperature (22-->34 degrees C). In this study, we identify the range of temperatures that triggers yawning to rule out the possible effect of changing temperature in any range. To corroborate its thermoregulatory function, we also related the incidence of yawning to other avian thermoregulatory behaviors in budgerigars (e.g., panting, wing venting). In a repeated measures design, 16 budgerigars were exposed to 4 separate 10-min periods of changing temperatures: (a) low-increasing (23-->27 degrees C), (b) high-increasing (27-->33 degrees C), (c) high-decreasing (34-->28 degrees C), and (d) low-decreasing (28-->24 degrees C). Birds yawned significantly more during the high-increasing temperature range, and yawning was positively correlated with ambient temperature across trials. Yawning was also positively correlated with other thermoregulatory behaviors. This research clarifies the previously demonstrated relationship between yawning rate and temperature by providing evidence that the physiological trigger for yawning is related to increasing body temperatures rather than the detection of changing external temperatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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