Subject: [UNCLASSIFIED]FW: emus
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 18:59:05 +1000
Can anyone answer this?

From: Page & Arn Adams [
Sent: Monday, 3 July 2006 11:16 AM
To: Chesson, Jean - BRS
Subject: emus
Here is where the request comes in:  do you know a person knowledgable about emu behavior who might be able to resolve 2 quandaries for me?  One of our class assignments is to write a life history of a bird of our choice (excluding birds already chosen by past students).  Naturally, I chose the emu.  Oddly, using non-primary sources (zoo and Auusie governmetn web sites, bird books) there are 2 distinct opinions on the emu's sociability (they are, and are in groups by choice; they aren't, but are in groups because habitat preferences create the groups).  There are also, incredibly, 4 different opinions on emu reproductive behavior:  the nest incubated by the male contains (1) only eggs from the incubating male's territorial mate, and which were fertilized by the incubating male; or, the nest ALSO contains (2)  eggs of "his" female that were fertilized by other males after the incubating male became "broody" and lost all interest in mating; (3) eggs he fertilized with other females; and (4) eggs slipped in by other females who were fertilized by other males.  And perhaps all 4 scenarios actually occur!  Each has different likely consequences for the selection of male and female mating behavior.
It would be wonderful if you can quickly suggest an individual who might be able to enlighten me on these two issues.  If not, please don't spend time on it!  I'll remain ignorant and will leave it as a "dispute in the general literature".   I haven't the days it would take to do the research in the UCSB library, and count myself lucky to have a half hour here and there to put into this class.  It would be interesting to know the truth of it, though.


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