Made-up mouths with preen oil reveal genetic and phenotypic conditions of starling nestlings

Juan José Soler, Ester Martínez-Renau, Manuel Azcárate-García, Cristina Ruiz-Castellano, José Martín & Manuel Martin-Vivaldi
Animal colouration are due to pigments, nanostructures, or to the cosmetic use of natural products, and plays a central role in social communication. The role of cosmetic colouration has traditionally been focussed on scenarios of sexual selection, but it could also be used in other contexts. Here, by using spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) as a model system, we explore the possibility that nestlings cosmetically used their intensely yellow coloured uropygial secretion to signal their genetic...
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