Upper lethal temperatures of Northern Bobwhite embryos and the thermal properties of their eggs

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This article explores the upper lethal temperature for Bobwhite eggs. Results find that thermal tolerances of Northern Bobwhite embryos are high, indicating an adaptation to the naturally occurring temperature extremes in the Bobwhite's environment. However, the results also indicate that high temperatures could have plausibly contributed to the population decline observed in the Bobwhite's semi-arid range.

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6 p.

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Reyna, Kelly S. & Burggren, Warren W. January 1, 2012.

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This article explores the upper lethal temperature for Bobwhite eggs. Results find that thermal tolerances of Northern Bobwhite embryos are high, indicating an adaptation to the naturally occurring temperature extremes in the Bobwhite's environment. However, the results also indicate that high temperatures could have plausibly contributed to the population decline observed in the Bobwhite's semi-arid range.

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6 p.

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Abstract: Northern Bobwhite eggs in the southern United States are often exposed to ambient temperatures in excess of their normal incubation temperature when unattended during their typical extended preincubation period. In drought years, typified by high ambient temperatures, Bobwhite eggs are often exposed to temperatures >45°C, well-above the upper lethal temperature of most other birds. Because the upper lethal temperature of Bobwhite embryos is not currently known, simulated clutches of eggs were exposed to preincubation temperatures ranging from 39 to 52°C for exposure times of 1, 3, or 6 h. The upper lethal temperatures and the temperatures resulting in ≥50% death of Northern Bobwhite embryos were recorded in addition to the time to thermal equilibrium of Bobwhite eggs. The upper lethal temperature for 1, 3, and 6 h of preincubation exposure was 51, 49, and 46°C, respectively. The temperatures resulting in ≥50% death were 46, 44, and 40°C for eggs exposed to elevated temperatures for 1, 3, and 6 h, respectively. The mean time for the inner-egg temperature to reach the ambient temperature was 38 ± 1 min (± SE). The thermal tolerances of Northern Bobwhite embryos were much higher than expected, and among the highest reported for birds, indicating an adaptation to the naturally occurring temperature extremes that often occur in the Bobwhite's semi-arid southern range. However, as the temperature increased above the incubation temperature, hatching success declined, showing that increased thermal tolerance has a cost. Although Bobwhite producers, managers, and researchers will find this information useful, it seems most interesting that high temperatures could plausibly have contributed to the population decline observed in the Bobwhite's semi-arid range.

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  • Poultry Science, 91(1), Elsevier Science Ltd., January 1 2012, p. 41-46

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  • Publication Title: Poultry Science
  • Volume: 91
  • Issue: 1
  • Page Start: 41
  • Page End: 46

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  • January 1, 2012

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  • Sept. 22, 2021, 2:32 p.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2023, 10:34 a.m.

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Reyna, Kelly S. & Burggren, Warren W. Upper lethal temperatures of Northern Bobwhite embryos and the thermal properties of their eggs, article, January 1, 2012; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1838843/: accessed June 21, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Science.

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