A mother and father are best... for beetles
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.