Heritability of tarsus length in cross-fostered European Starling broods

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A cross-fostering experiment demonstrated that tarsus length of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) was heritable. The tarsus length of the foster-parent had no effect. A full-sib resemblance analysis showed that sibs were much more similar in tarsus length than explained by heritability alone. This was partly due to an effect of female mating status on offspring tarsus length. When nestling growth was retarded in secondary females' nests due to reduced male assistance, the increased environmental variation in tarsus length masked the heritability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-322
Publication statusPublished - 1993

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Zoology
  • Ecology

Free keywords

  • cross-fostering
  • ecological genetics


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