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Moulting cycles in European quail (Coturnix coturnix coturnix) under constant photoperiodic conditions

Abstract : Male and female European quails (Coturnix coturnix coturnix) were studied whilst being maintained in LD 12:12, at 20° C, for four years from birth. The birds exhibited the following phases: end of the first phase of the post‐juvenile moult, fattening and a period of nocturnal activity. Then sexual development is observed up to complete maturation at the age of four months. The second part of post juvenile moulting occurs towards the age of 5 to 6 months. During the following 6 months an important phase of reproduction is observed, thus completing their first year of life. The same sequence is repeated during the following years: a moult which lasts for 6 months in two (sometimes three) partial phases separated by episodes of reproduction; then an important period of reproduction (6 months) without moulting. The birds are capable of reproducing at all times except during moulting. The sequence of moulting begins each year in the same months as those for natural French populations. It thus seems that the annual periodicity and the organisation itself of the phenomenon of moulting is controlled in European quail by an endogenous circannual rhythm. In contrast, the natural cyclic expression of sexuality appears to be dependent on abiotic environmental and social factors.
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Catherine Guyomarc'H, Jean-Charles Guyomarc'H. Moulting cycles in European quail (Coturnix coturnix coturnix) under constant photoperiodic conditions. Biological Rhythm Research, Taylor & Francis, 1995, 26 (3), pp.292-305. ⟨10.1080/09291019509360343⟩. ⟨hal-01365645⟩



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