A megapode question

To: <>, <>
Subject: A megapode question
From: "Hugo Phillipps" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004 11:24:47 +1000
David -
My understanding is that megapode eggs are not turned deliberately and, in fact, do not need to be turned at all.  Evolution of the use of external heat sources for incubation must have included adaptations to egg/embryo physiology. Inadvertent turning may occur in the course of mound maintenance, but is not only unnecessary but also potentially damaging as megapode eggs have shells that are considerably thinner and more fragile than would be expected from comparison with those of other birds.  Presumably eggs laid in burrows where incubation heat is geothermally derived do not require substrate maintainance.  To what extent are megapodes 'aware' of their eggs, anyway?  I would have thought that (in the case of the mound-builders and maintainers) the males would focus almost entirely on mound maintenance and be largely oblivious to eggs (as they are to chicks).  Aren't there cases of enthusiastic mound-maintainers inadvertently kicking out eggs when opening up the mounds?

Hugo Phillipps
Queenscliff, Vic
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