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Reproduction in Eastern Screech-Owls Fed Selenium

Stanley N. Wiemeyer and David J. Hoffman
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Apr., 1996), pp. 332-341
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802232
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802232
Page Count: 10
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Reproduction in Eastern Screech-Owls Fed Selenium
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Abstract

Raptors are occasionally exposed to excessive selenium from contaminated prey, but the effects of this exposure on reproduction are unknown. Therefore, we fed captive eastern screech-owls (Otus asio) diets containing 0, 4.4, or 13.2 ppm (wet wt) added selenium in the form of seleno-DL-methionine. Adult mass at sacrifice and reproductive success of birds receiving 13.2 ppm selenium were depressed (P < 0.05) relative to controls. Parents given 4.4 ppm selenium produced no malformed nestlings, but femur lengths of young were shorter (P = 0.015) than those of controls. Liver biochemistries indicative of oxidative stress were affected (P < 0.05) in 5-day-old nestlings from parents fed 4.4 ppm selenium and included a 19% increase in glutathione peroxidase activity, a 43% increase in the ratio of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) to reduced glutathione (GSH), and a 17% increase in lipid peroxidation. Based on reproductive effects relative to dietary exposure, sensitivity of eastern screech-owls to selenium was similar to that of black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) but less than that of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos).

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