A mother and fa­ther are best... for bee­tles

Scottish Daily Mail - - Life - By Kate Fos­ter Scot­tish Health Ed­i­tor

YOUNG­STERS raised by mum and dad are health­ier and more likely to sur­vive than those raised by a sin­gle par­ent – in the in­sect world.

A study by re­searchers from the uni­ver­si­ties of Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh found that ‘bi­par­ent­ing’ pro­duced off­spring which grew bet­ter and had a higher sur­vival rate than those reared by a sin­gle male or fe­male par­ent.

Sci­en­tists ex­am­ined bury­ing bee­tles, which ei­ther co-par­ent or raise their young as sin­gle par­ents.

The bee­tles care for their lar­vae un­der­ground us­ing the body of a dead an­i­mal such as a mouse or small bird as food.

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.’

How­ever, the study, pub­lished in the sci­en­tific jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings B, found that the male in­sects in bi­par­ent­ing pairs tended to give less care – shift­ing the bur­den of rais­ing the young onto the moth­ers.

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