About animals

Flower-sucking (Flower-eating) - Dicaeidae - family


The family of flower-eating - Dicaeidae - includes 44 species that are found mainly in New Guinea and the Philippines. The rest of the range stretches from India through China to the southern borders of Australasia. They usually live in small groups on trees or shrubs. Flower-eaters do not migrate, but remain faithful to their place of birth.

Flower-eating - birds of small sizes with short paws and tails. The plumage has a soft color, both sexes are almost the same. In some species, males differ in brighter plumage. On short beaks there are protrusions like small teeth that help the beetles eat sticky fruits. Their tongue is folded into a tube, which facilitates the production of nectar. In addition to it, flower eaters eat berries and fruits, and do not disdain insects and spiders. Prefer the yellow berries of the plant Loranthus longiflorus from the family of Rhynophytum and are an important factor in the distribution of its seeds.

The flower-eating nests are round, suspended from the branches of trees and the entrance to them is on the side. As a building material, various stems are used, as well as a spider web. In the clutch from two to four eggs.

Family of flower-eating - Dicaeidae - Includes 44 species belonging to two genera.

* Rod Peduncles (Dicaeum)

o mistletoe, or swallow flower beetle (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)
o Red-bellied inflorescence, or Vizayansky (Dicaeum haematostictum)
o Bearded peduncle (Dicaeum annae)
o Bismarck spike (Dicaeum eximium)
o Borneo peduncle (Dicaeum monticolum)
o burospin spike (Dicaeum everetti)
o bronze peduncle (Dicaeum aeneum)
o thickboot peduncle (Dicaeum agile)
o single color flower sucker (Dicaeum concolor)
o fire-breasted peduncle (Dicaeum ignipectus)
o fire-headed flower-sucker (Dicaeum trochileum)
o Fire-breasted flower stalk (Dicaeum erythrothorax)
o yellow-bellied inflorescence (Dicaeum melanoxanthum)
o Yellow-fronted sucker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum)
o Golden-winged flower sucker (Dicaeum anthonyi)
o gray-breasted flower sucker (Dicaeum proprium)
o Salmon straight stem (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos)
o Louisiana stalk (Dicaeum nitidum)
o Maje flower sucker (Dicaeum maugei)
o yellow-sided flower sucker (Dicaeum aureolimbatum)
o Red-necked or Mindorana peduncle (Dicaeum retrocinctum)
o red-headed flower sucker (Dicaeum nehrkorni)
o olivogolosy peduncle (Dicaeum nigrilore)
o papua flowerpot (Dicaeum pectorale)
o purple peduncle (Dicaeum sanguinolentum)
o Red-bellied inflorescence (Dicaeum australe)
o Red-headed flower sucker (Dicaeum geelvinkianum)
o Red-throated sucker (Dicaeum igniferum)
o swallow flower-sucker (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)
o Ruby-throated peduncle (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
o scarlet sucker (Dicaeum cruentatum)
o black-cheeked, or Celebessky flower-bearing (Dicaeum celebicum)
o ash peduncle (Dicaeum vulneratum)
o motley, or Sankristobalsky (Dicaeum tristrami)
o four-color flower sucker (Dicaeum quadricolor)
o white bellied inflorescence (Dicaeum hypoleucum)
o white-throated sucker (Dicaeum vincens)
o two-color inflorescence (Dicaeum bicolor)
o dwarf peduncle (Dicaeum pygmaeum)

* Genus Prionochilus - Prionochilus

o Yellow-breasted peduncle (Prionochilus maculatus)
o green stalk (Prionochilus olivaceus)
o Persian flower stalk (Prionochilus percussus)
o Palawan peduncle (Prionochilus plateni)
o Yellow-throated peduncle (Prionochilus xanthopygius)
o Red-breasted sucker (Prionochilus thoracicus)

The number of species in "sister" taxa

familyFlower suckers (Flower-eaten)DicaeidaeBonaparte1853
suborder / orderSingersOscines
squad / orderSparrowPasseriformes
superorder / orderNewborn birds (Typical birds)NeognathaePycroft1900
infraclassReal Birds (Foxtail Birds)NeornithesShadow1893
subclassCalabash Birds (Fanfowl)Carinatae Ornithurae (Neornithes) Ornithurae (Neornithes)Merrem1813
the classBirdsAves
subtype / subdivisionVertebrates (Cranial)Vertebrata (craniata)
type / departmentChordateChordata
overtypeCoelomic animalsCoelomata
sectionBilateral Symmetric (Three Layer)Bilateria (Triploblastica)
kingdomMulticellular animalsMetazoa

Male birds have to choose between attractive color and song beauty

Sexual selection, which is based on the struggle for the success of reproduction, can potentially act as a powerful factor in speciation. This role is confirmed by mathematical models and individual works, however, many attempts at a broader analysis did not reveal the expected connection. The team of British ornithologists wondered: is it always correct in such studies to evaluate the strength of sexual selection? It is usually assumed that sexual selection will affect all the signs associated with the struggle for partners and fertility. Often, sexual dimorphism in color is used as an indicator of sexual selection - color differences between males and females. However, the visual channel is not the only one that can be involved in attracting a partner. So, for many birds, acoustic signals serve this purpose. Using the Passeriformes order as an example, the authors of a new study demonstrated that there is a compromise between the development of two systems for attracting a partner: the merits of males are mainly manifested either in vocalization or in appearance. This means that it is simply impossible to evaluate the role of sexual selection by only one group of signs.

Songbirds have an extra chromosome

In songbirds (Passeri suborder), most body cells contain 40 pairs of chromosomes. In 1998, an additional chromosome in germ cells was found in zebra amadins, and in 2014, in their relatives, Japanese amadins. Then this find was considered as a genetic curiosity. It was present in the germ cells of females, as well as in the precursors of the germ cells of males, but it was also “thrown out” of them during sperm maturation.

A group led by Pavel Borodin from the Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology and Genetics SB RAS studied 14 species of songbirds from nine different families, as well as eight species of birds that are not songbirds - geese, ducks, hens, pigeons, gulls, swifts, falcons, parrots. In all song species, an additional chromosome was found in germ cells, while in other species it was not.

“We found that, unlike other birds and most other animals, all the studied songbird species contain different numbers of chromosomes in somatic and germ cells. All of them, literally every examined bird, have an extra chromosome in germ cells (COD). We have shown that the most common birds have an extra chromosome: squirrels, swallows, tits, flytraps, larks and rooks (rooks also belong to songbirds). Moreover, an additional chromosome is absent in birds of all other orders, ”said Borodin N + 1.

He and his colleagues isolated and decoded separate sections of additional chromosomes in the siskin, pale swallow, zebra amadina, and Japanese amadina and found numerous fragments of the functional genes of the main genome there. Simultaneously with the Borodin group, two independent research groups found (1, 2) that the chromosomes in the germ cells of the zebra amadina contain genes that are similar but not identical to the genes of somatic cells. Some of these genes are present in multiple copies and produce RNA and proteins in the testes and ovaries of mature birds.

“We suggest that COD emerged as an additional parasitic microchromosome in the common ancestor of all songbirds about 35 million years ago and underwent significant changes in size and genetic content, turning from a“ genomic parasite ”into an important component of the genome of germ cells. We do not yet know why it is needed and what advantages it can give its carriers. Perhaps it was she who allowed songbirds to become the largest suborder (more than 5 thousand out of a total of 9-10 thousand bird species), create many forms, beautiful and amazing, and capture many ecological niches on all continents, ”the scientist noted.

Scientists believe that the COD of songbirds can be seen as an evolutionary attempt to locally and temporarily increase the number of copies of the desired genes without increasing the total genome size and body weight. Birds need additional copies of genes in germ cells for a short breeding period just to produce a lot of sperm and load oocytes with a large amount of protein. And copies of these genes are not needed all year round and in all somatic cells.

“If we take into account that the COD of swallows, tits, reeds and many other small birds weighs about 0.1 picogram, and the whole genome - 1.2 picogram, it turns out to be a pretty heavy burden to carry, and not just carry, but also feed, drink and propagate throughout life in all cells of the body. A set of genes for reproduction is more convenient to store in a small tool box, ”said Borodin.