Data from: Egg morphology fails to identify nests parasitized by conspecifics in common pochard: a test based on protein fingerprinting and including female relatedness
Petrželková, Adéla et al. (2016), Data from: Egg morphology fails to identify nests parasitized by conspecifics in common pochard: a test based on protein fingerprinting and including female relatedness, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7rm62
Conspecific brood parasites lay eggs in nests of other females of the same species. A variety of methods have been developed and used to detect conspecific brood parasitism (CBP). Traditional methods may be inaccurate in detecting CBP and in revealing its true frequency. On the other hand more accurate molecular methods are expensive and time consuming. Eadie developed a method for revealing CBP based on differences in egg morphology. That method is based on Euclidean distances calculated for pairs of eggs within a clutch using standardized egg measurements (length, width and weight). We tested the applicability of this method in the common pochard Aythya ferina using nests that were identified as parasitized (39 nests) or non-parasitized (16 nests) based on protein fingerprinting of eggs. We also analyzed whether we can distinguish between parasitic and host eggs in the nest. We found that variation in MED can be explained by parasitism but there was a huge overlap in MED between parasitized and non-parasitized nests. MED also increased with clutch size. Using discriminant function analysis (DFA) we found that only 76.4% of nests were correctly assigned as parasitized or nonparasitized and only 68.3% of eggs as parasitic or host eggs. Moreover we found that MED in parasitized nests increased with relatedness of the females that laid eggs in the nest. This finding was supported by positive correlation between MED and estimated relatedness in female–female pairs. Although variation in egg morphology is associated with CBP, it does not provide a reliable clue for distinguishing parasitized nests from non-parasitized nests in common pochard.