In fish species that engage in external fertilization, males ordinarily take over the bulk of embryonic care once females have left their eggs behind. Photo credit: Shutterstock Females may simply take off and leave their eggs to a male to fertilize and then care for. External Fertilization Followed By Care From Dad In some bony fish species like salmon and trout, mothers will dig out small nests or redds. They use their tails to excavate depressions
parental involvement babies
In the animal kingdom, high numbers of predators will inevitably cause some altered behaviour when it comes to parental involvement. Some Parents Choose To Decrease Their Involvement In several nesting bird species, parents decrease their parental involvement by limiting the number of visits to the nest to provide food for their babies. This is likely to reduce their own visibility to predators, but also to avoid disclosing the location of their nests. It is critical
allomothering and adoptive mothers
When a non-biological mother takes over complete care of an orphaned infant, it represents a great commitment. Biologically speaking, it doesn’t make sense for a mother to provide an abundance of care to an unrelated offspring. There is no way for a female to increase her biological fitness by adopting an infant who doesn’t carry her genetic code. So why are there instances of adoptive mothers in many animal groups? The Difference Between Adoptive Mothers
cuckoo bird

March 6, 2019

Brood Parasitism

Brood parasitism is a parenting strategy in which birds do not brood their own eggs or tend to their own offspring once those eggs hatch. The eggs are deposited into the nests of other females of a different species. Shutterstock Brood Parasitism Success Strategies Unfortunately there isn’t really a “bright side” for host moms. Parasite chicks often employ strategies that render them more successful than the host mom’s own chicks. They may push host chicks
food pyramid
Do Humans Really Need A Food Pyramid? Humans are introduced to the food pyramid at a very early age. It tells us the approximate percentage of fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and meat we should eat. Now, the food pyramid has been replaced by the food plate. Are we so far gone as biological entities that we need professional intervention to remind us to eat a balanced diet? A general survey of the food-related illnesses that
Parasitic infections are an unfortunate part of life for most animals, humans included. Without the (unnaturally sterile) human standards of hygiene, our primate cousins contract parasites much more commonly. Humans treat parasitic infections with vaccinations or medications. Treating roundworm, hookworm, pinworm, and tapeworm involves differential toxicity. The drugs we take are toxic to our bodies, but more toxic to the bodies of the parasites. This makes them an effective treatment for parasitic infections in human
Wild Sex on Valentines Day

February 14, 2019

Wild Sex On Valentines Day

Can you think of a better way to spend Valentines Day? This morning I was in Vancouver on Breakfast TV to talk about “romance” in the animal kingdom. We discussed stickleback fish, foam nesting tree frogs, orangutans, and nudibranchs! Mike Lloyd has obviously been paying attention to my posts on social media, since he sent in a tweet asking about the extremely well-endowed barnacle! The past couple weeks I have been sharing some wild sex