HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Penguins ingest mollusk shells to obtain calcium for thicker eggshells

It is virtually impossible for a prospective Magellanic penguin mother to find or build a soft spot to lay her eggs. So it turns out that her eggs come with extra-thick shells to withstand being laid on hard surfaces and survive being kicked around during penguin fights.

But it takes a lot of extra calcium to produce thicker shells, and a penguin can't just run to the corner drugstore to pick up some calcium-rich antacid tablets. New research led by a University of Washington biologist shows that during the period when eggs are being laid, female penguins have significantly more mollusk shells, mainly clams and mussels, in their stomachs than males do. The mollusk shells gradually leach calcium used to form eggshells.

Penguins typically nest on hard surfaces near coastlines and, if soil conditions are right, they might build burrows. Because they can't fly and are made to be agile swimmers rather than to walk gracefully on land, it is rare that they can collect much soft nesting material.

Still, their eggs are rarely broken because the shells are more than 50 percent thicker than expected for their size, which is about twice that of a chicken egg, said Dee Boersma. The University of Washington biology professor has studied penguins in South America, Antarctica and various South Seas islands, and said the thick-shell pattern follows for some other birds too.

"The birds that lay eggs on rocks or those that tend to lay them from great heights, like ostriches and rheas, also tend of have thicker eggshells," she said.

Both female and male penguins typically fast for a week or more before eggs are laid. Both genders ingest mollusk shells before the fast begins, which could alleviate hunger during the fast. But females lacking other sources of calcium ingest significantly more mollusk shells, which apparently supplements calcium taken from their bones for eggshell formation.

The thicker shells are important for penguins, whic
'"/>

Contact: Vince Stricherz
vinces@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
10-May-2004


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Ecotourism: Penguins can get used to people
2. Increasing Frequency Of El Nino Takes Toll On Northern Hemispheres Only Penguins
3. Beset By Human Competition, Penguins Must Take Marathon Food Trips To Avoid Starvation, A Researcher Finds
4. Without water, the body will shut down its need to ingest food
5. Serotonin metabolites in mollusks suggest pathways for human therapies
6. Report in BioScience details global decline of nonmarine mollusks
7. Discovery of fossil mollusks in Alaska links histories of Arctic Ocean and Isthmus of Panama
8. Researchers characterize mollusk insulin gene, find unique peptide
9. Clamshells, wheat and burgers - the next fast-food craze?
10. Fossilized Emu Eggshells Give Clues To 65,000 Years Of Vegetation And Climate Changes In Australia
11. Scientists Use Fossilized Emu Eggshells To Discern Changes In Vegetation, Provide Additional Evidence Of Human Impact On Australian Landscape

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:7/18/2020)... , ... July 17, 2020 , ... Commercial launch readiness ... pharma’s ability to discover a COVID cure or vaccine, the global economic downturn will ... price pressure is not going away and capturing full value from every product launch ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 09, 2020 , ... Today CJ BIO announced the ... share insight on the “fifth taste” phenomenon that is revolutionizing ingredient mixes, nutritional content ... will be live on Monday, July 13, 2020 at11:00 AM (CDT) during SHIFT20, the ...
(Date:7/2/2020)... , ... July 01, 2020 , ... ... its phase 1a findings of Neihulizumab, a biologic for the treatment of steroid-refractory ... 2020. Led by hemato-oncologist Dr. Paul J Martin of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... July 16, 2020 , ... Medial EarlySign ... detection and prevention of high-burden diseases, and Centric Consulting, a business and technology ... to utilize existing data in order to identify and prioritize patients for care. ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 09, 2020 , ... In ... commonly used to suppress pigment formation in zebrafish embryos, maintaining optical transparency to ... by Dr MA has been using the zebrafish model to investigate the causes ...
(Date:7/1/2020)... ... June 29, 2020 , ... MedShift , a leading ... despite many obstacles created as a result of COVID-19. As a provider at ... medical practices and medical manufacturers by expanding access to device offerings, technology services, ...
(Date:6/28/2020)... ... June 25, 2020 , ... ... develop a vaccine or drug treatment. In an effort to better understand the ... released the world’s largest imaging dataset portraying therapeutic compound effects from over 1,600 ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: