Mother-chicks relationship and effects on development in quail (#515)
Females of a given species can naturally show individual differences in the maternal care they provide with important consequences on the phenotypic development of their offspring. Maternal styles can be defined when these interindividual differences are stable over several periods of reproduction. These styles have been studied in a wide variety of mammal species and demonstrated recently in birds. Indeed, we have highlighted the existence of maternal styles in a precocial species, the Japanese quail. This species offers the possibility to separate the genetic or physiological and behavioural influences of mothers by avoiding lactation phase and using procedures of adoption. We have established links between the temperament of females and their maternal behaviors, as well as relationships between the maternal cares and the development of young temperament. This developmental dynamic is more complex. Indeed, we recently showed that the maternal care changes also according to the chicks features (e.g. given that the chicks were prenatally stressed or not). That means that the young can indirectly have an effect on its own development. Thus, variability in maternal behaviors is a key element to understand the non-genomic transmission of personality traits, whose mechanisms are still poorly known.