Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Conflicting demands on the trophic system of Anseriformes and their evolutionary implications

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Animal Biology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Within the Anseriformes, the Anatinae (ducks) shows a wide variation in diet and feeding mechanisms, in contrast to the Anserinae (geese and swans). While grazing is common in the Anserinae, only few species within the Anatinae use terrestrial grazing as their main feeding mechanism (e.g., wigeons). This may be explained by conflicting functional demands of grazing and filter-feeding on the trophic system. In this study, the feeding performance, feeding mechanisms and oropharyngeal anatomy is compared between geese, wigeon and a general filter-feeder/pecker, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). The results show that the functional demands of filter-feeding and grazing are conflicting: filter-feeding requires a bald palatal surface and under-tongue transport for optimal functioning of the lingual cushion as a piston, whereas the transport mechanism of grazing requires large maxillary spines and over-tongue transport to retain grass during tongue protraction. The oropharyngeal anatomy of the wigeon shows a compromise in the small size of the maxillary spines that enable a sliding mechanism for the transport of a limited amount of grass. Filter-feeding is sometimes considered as a key adaptation that led to radiation in the anseriforms (Olson and Feduccia, 1980; Lack, 1974). We suggest, as an alternative hypothesis, that feeding on water plants may have led to the evolution of ridge-like structures in the bills, a sliding mandibular joint and the use of a water flow through the oropharynx (tongue pro- and retractions) for food transport in early anseriforms (cf. geese). A selection pressure on filter-feeding resulted in a large increase in efficiency of this system by the introduction of under-tongue transport of food and water (repatterning of bill and tongue movements) that enables the simultaneous intake and transport of a suspension of food particles (cf. Anatinae, a.o. Aythya and Anas). Terrestrial grazing later evolved by the development of maxillary spines, and in the case of the wigeon, a secondary change from the under tongue transport mechanism to over tongue transport for the grazing and pecking mechanisms only.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Animal Biology — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation