Thursday, March 18, 2010

Super Dads - Parenting in animal world - Part IV

I came across some very interesting aspects of parenting in the animal world and as part of the series I thought this would be a fitting finale. Did you know that there are absentee parents, part time parents and full time parents in the animal world too?

In the following species however it is the super dads who are the main focus in raising their young ones. This starts right from the stage of laying eggs to hatching and rearing. Wow! Amazing ain't it? In the case of the Giant Water Bug the female lays about 150 eggs which she cements to the back of the male bug and in true sense the male becomes a beast of burden. It carries and takes care of the eggs for about a month, and stops eating until the eggs hatch. Guess what the female is doing? After laying the eggs she just disappears!!

In the case of Stickleback fish, the male produces a glue like substance and makes layers of nest on which the female lays the eggs. This takes about two days and then the male fertilises these eggs. From then on it is solely the job of these males to tend to the brood. It aerates and fans them and once they hatch they also protest them by gathering the little naughty ones into his mouth and then spitting them back safely into the nest for a week. Here again the role of parenting in the female fish ends once the eggs are laid.

Now here's the big one. The Spotted Sandpiper birds really take the cake. It is one of the few species of bird where there is sex-role reversal. The female bird is very aggressive and plays a very active role during mating. However after this it is the male bird which sits on the eggs and incubates it for 21 days and once the eggs are hatched they tend to the fledglings for the next 21 days. Guess what the female bird does once she has laid her eggs? She will be quick in shirking her duties and busy mating with another male if the opportunity arises!!

Hats off to all these super dads. As for the female species, do you think it is super liberation?

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