Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 146, Issue 4, pp 355–364 | Cite as

The pineal clock affects behavioral circadian rhythms but not photoperiodic induction in the Indian weaver bird (Ploceus philippinus)

  • Sangeeta Rani
  • Sudhi Singh
  • Vinod KumarEmail author
Original Article


We investigated whether pineal is part of the circadian clock system which regulates circadian rhythms of activity and photosensitivity in the Indian weaver bird (Ploceus philippinus). Two experiments were performed. The first experiment examined the induction of testicular growth, and androgen-dependent beak pigmentation and luteinizing hormone (LH)-specific plumage coloration in pinealectomised (pinx) and sham-operated (sham) birds exposed to short day (8 h light: 16 h darkness, 8L:16D) and long day (16L:8D) for 9 months in the late breeding and early regressive phase (October), or the late regressive and preparatory phase (January) of the annual testicular cycle. As expected, short days were non-stimulatory, and long days stimulated testicular growth, beak pigmentation and plumage coloration. There was no difference in the response between pinx and sham birds subjected to short or long days in October, but the response was enhanced in pinx birds that were subjected to long day in January. In the second experiment circadian behavioral rhythms were studied (activity pattern in singly housed birds) in weaver birds first exposed at two different phases of the annual testicular cycle to a stimulatory photoperiod (12L:12D in preparatory phase or 13L:11D in early breeding phase) and then released into dim continuous light (LLdim). All birds showed synchronization to the light period before and after the pinealectomy; there was no difference in the response between pinx and sham birds. When released into LLdim, sham birds exhibited circadian rhythmicity continuously, whereas pinx birds lost circadian rhythmicity after some cycles. Considered together, these results suggest that circadian clock residing within the pineal gland regulates the circadian rhythm in activity, but not the circadian rhythm involved in photoperiodic induction of the Indian weaver bird.


Circadian rhythm Melatonin Pineal Pinealectomy Photoperiod Ploceus philippinus 



The experiments included in this paper conform to Indian laws, and were done using the facility exclusively generated from the SERC research grant to VK by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of LucknowLucknowIndia

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