Specialization in the choice and use of spider silk in the nest of the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (Aves, Fringillidae)

Storer, N. P. and Hansell, M. H. (1992) Specialization in the choice and use of spider silk in the nest of the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (Aves, Fringillidae). Journal of Natural History, 26(6), pp. 1421-1430. (doi:10.1080/00222939200770801)

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Abstract

The chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, is one of a large number of birds from many families that use silk in the construction of their nests. Thirty-eight chaffinch nests collected from around the UK were examined to determine the nature and role of silk in nest construction. A regular survey of web, retreat and cocoon silk availability was made at a study site close to Glasgow, Scotland, over a 12 month period. The only spider web silk found in the nests was of the type produced by cribellate spiders. The majority of silk in nests, however, was spider cocoons, but there was no correlation between the amount of cocoon and web silk used. Nests with more lichen decoration contained more silk, and cocoon silk was particularly associated with the attachment of lichen. Nest construction at the study site took place from late April to mid-May. When nest building began, the availability of suitable web silk had doubled from its winter (lowest) level; however, its abundance continued to rise sharply until the end of May. The possible influence of silk availability on the timing of chaffinch nesting is discussed.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansell, Professor Mike
Authors: Storer, N. P., and Hansell, M. H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Natural History
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0022-2933
ISSN (Online):1464-5262

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