Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia
Hard copy: ISSN 1691–8088
On-line: ISSN 2255–9582
Acta Univ Latv (2009) 753: 89–98
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Environmental and

Acta Univ Latv (2009) 753: 89–98

Orginal Article

Method for identification of avian species by eggshell microstructure: preliminary study

Agnis Bušs1,3*, Oskars Keišs2
1Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology, University of Latvia, Kronvalda Bulv. 4, Rīga LV–1586, Latvia
2Laboratory of Ornithology, Institute of Biology, University of Latvia, Miera 3, Salaspils LV–2169, Latvia
3Present address: Deptartment of Animal Ecology, University of Tartu, Vanemuise 46, Tartu 51014, Estonia
*Corresponding author, E-mail: agnis.buss@ut.ee


It is widely known that birds and their eggs can be identified by their outer characteristics – shape, coloration, spots etc. These features can not be used when only a single piece of eggshell is available (e.g. remains at nests). The aim of this preliminary study was to determine whether microscopy methods can be used for avian species identification by eggshells. Stereo microscope, transmission and reflection light microscope and scanning electron microscope were used to describe eggshell microstructure, empasizing differences among species. Differences in eggshell structure of some Passerine bird species were obrerved in the eggshell mammillary layer by transmission light microscope. However the size of eggshell mammillae was overlapping, and more studies are necessary to discover species-specific structures in avian eggshell.

Key words: avian eggs, eggshell microstructure, identification of species, mammillae.

Acta Univ Latv (2009) 753: 89–98
 DOI: http://doi.org/10.22364/eeb

Prof. Gederts Ievinsh
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