The anatomy of the bill tip of kiwi and associated somatosensory regions of the brain: comparisons with shorebirds

 

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dc.contributor.author Cunningham, Susan J en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Corfield, Jeremy R en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Iwaniuk, Andrew N en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Castro, Isabel en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Alley, Maurice R en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Birkhead, Tim R en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Parsons, Stuart en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-11-16T04:10:56Z
dc.date.available 2015-11-16T04:10:56Z
dc.date.issued 2013 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Cunningham, S. J., Corfield, J. R., Iwaniuk, A. N., Castro, I., Alley, M. R., Birkhead, T. R., & Parsons, S. (2013). The anatomy of the bill tip of kiwi and associated somatosensory regions of the brain: comparisons with shorebirds. PLOS ONE, 8(11), e80036. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080036 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15016
dc.identifier.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0080036
dc.description.abstract Three families of probe-foraging birds, Scolopacidae (sandpipers and snipes), Apterygidae (kiwi), and Threskiornithidae (ibises, including spoonbills) have independently evolved long, narrow bills containing clusters of vibration-sensitive mechanoreceptors (Herbst corpuscles) within pits in the bill-tip. These ‘bill-tip organs’ allow birds to detect buried or submerged prey via substrate-borne vibrations and/or interstitial pressure gradients. Shorebirds, kiwi and ibises are only distantly related, with the phylogenetic divide between kiwi and the other two taxa being particularly deep. We compared the bill-tip structure and associated somatosensory regions in the brains of kiwi and shorebirds to understand the degree of convergence of these systems between the two taxa. For comparison, we also included data from other taxa including waterfowl (Anatidae) and parrots (Psittaculidae and Cacatuidae), non-apterygid ratites, and other probe-foraging and non probe-foraging birds including non-scolopacid shorebirds (Charadriidae, Haematopodidae, Recurvirostridae and Sternidae). We show that the bill-tip organ structure was broadly similar between the Apterygidae and Scolopacidae, however some inter-specific variation was found in the number, shape and orientation of sensory pits between the two groups. Kiwi, scolopacid shorebirds, waterfowl and parrots all shared hypertrophy or near-hypertrophy of the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus. Hypertrophy of the nucleus basorostralis, however, occurred only in waterfowl, kiwi, three of the scolopacid species examined and a species of oystercatcher (Charadriiformes: Haematopodidae). Hypertrophy of the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus in kiwi, Scolopacidae, and other tactile specialists appears to have co-evolved alongside bill-tip specializations, whereas hypertrophy of nucleus basorostralis may be influenced to a greater extent by other sensory inputs. We suggest that similarities between kiwi and scolopacid bill-tip organs and associated somatosensory brain regions are likely a result of similar ecological selective pressures, with inter-specific variations reflecting finer-scale niche differentiation. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_ZA
dc.rights This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the <a href= en_ZA
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 en_ZA
dc.source PLoS One en_ZA
dc.source.uri http://journals.plos.org/plosone en_ZA
dc.subject.other Birds en_ZA
dc.subject.other Mechanoreceptors en_ZA
dc.subject.other Waterfowl en_ZA
dc.subject.other Parrots en_ZA
dc.subject.other Foraging en_ZA
dc.subject.other Cerebrum en_ZA
dc.subject.other Hindbrain en_ZA
dc.subject.other Keratins en_ZA
dc.title The anatomy of the bill tip of kiwi and associated somatosensory regions of the brain: comparisons with shorebirds en_ZA
dc.type Journal Article en_ZA
dc.rights.holder © 2013 Cunningham et al en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Article en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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