Study re­veals that an­i­mals raised by two par­ents sur­vive for longer

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY TOM TOR­RANCE

AN­I­MALS raised by two par­ents grow bet­ter and have higher sur­vival rates than off­spring reared by a sin­gle male or fe­male par­ent, a study has found.

Re­searchers from the uni­ver­si­ties of Glas­gow and Edinburgh stud­ied bury­ing bee­tles and com­pared the sur­vival and growth of the young when they were reared by one or both of their par­ents.

It was found that lar­vae reared by par­ents who worked to­gether were larger at the end of the parental care pe­riod than those reared by par­ents who worked alone. The lar­vae reared by two par­ents were also more likely to sur­vive to adult­hood.

The team dis­cov­ered this was the case even though males “ex­ploited” fe­males when co-par­ent­ing.

The study, pub­lished in Pro­ceed­ings B, found males and fe­males gave equal care when rais­ing young alone, but when rais­ing young to­gether, males gave less care, forc­ing fe­males to com­pen­sate by tak­ing on more of the work­load.

Ex­perts said that “bi­parental care”, when par­ents co-op­er­ate to pro­vide care for their off­spring, is ob­served in many species in­clud­ing in birds, fishes, in­sects and mam­mals. Dr Natalie Pi­lak­outa, from the Univer­sity of Glas­gow’s In­sti­tute of Bio­di­ver­sity, An­i­mal Health and Com­par­a­tive Medicine, said: “We have shown that off­spring grow bet­ter and are more likely to sur­vive if they are reared by both par­ents.

“This might help ex­plain why bi­parental care has evolved in so many species across the an­i­mal king­dom.”

In gen­eral, bi­parental care is ex­pected to evolve when it in­creases the fit­ness of off­spring to such an ex­tent that it out­weighs the loss of mat­ing with a new part­ner.

Pic­ture: Ricky Ashanol­lah

Ground Bee­tle

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