Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 44, Number 1, January-February 2004
Page(s) 29 - 35
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 44 (2004) 29-35
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2004014

The effect of duration and time of food availability on the photoperiodic response in the male house sparrow, Passer domesticus

Sanjay Kumar Bhardwaj and Anushi

Department of Zoology, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut 250 004, India
(Received 25 July 2003; accepted 13 November 2003)

Abstract - We investigated the effects of food availability on the seasonal testicular growth in the photoperiodic house sparrow (Passer domesticus). Two experiments were performed, each lasting 4 weeks. In experiment 1, sparrows were exposed to natural (NDL; group 1), short (8L:16D; group 2) and long (16L:8D; groups 3-5) day lengths with access to food ad libitum (groups 1-3) or for 10 h (zeitgeber time (zt) 0-10, group 4; zt 0 is the time of light onset) or for 8 h (zt 8-16, group 5). Testes recrudesced under long, but not short and natural, day lengths, and the recrudescence under long days was influenced by the duration of food availability. In experiment 2, the sparrows were exposed to short (8L:16D, group 1) and long (16L:8D, groups 2-5) day lengths with access to food ad libitum (for groups 1and 2) or for 6 h (for groups 3-5) at different times during the 16 h light period (group 3- zt 0-6, group 4- zt 5-11, group 5- zt 10-16). As the expected, the testes recrudesced only under long lengths, but the photoinduction was variable among the 4 groups. The testes grew to full size in groups 2 and 3 that received food either ad libitum or for 6 h at zt 0-6, but to sub-maximal size in the groups that received 6 h food either at zt 5-11 (group 4) or at zt 10-16 (group 5). Altogether, these results support the idea that the photoperiodic regulation of reproduction in a seasonally breeding species is influenced both by the duration and the time of food availability.

Key words: sparrow / photoperiod / timing / food / reproduction

Corresponding author: Sanjay Kumar Bhardwaj

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004