Mating and Parental Care

by Jason Amores Sumpter
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mating behaviors include attracting mates, competing for mates and caring for offspring. Mating systems described the way in which mating and sexual behavior is structured. Two examples of this are monogamy and polygamy. You can see an example of monogamy right here with these albatross, and this is when one male mates with one female and they stick together. Polygamy, on the other hand, is when an individual of one sex will mate with many individuals of the opposite sex, and this could go both ways. This could be a male mating with many females or a female mating with many males. Now, sexual selection is the type of natural selection in which members of one sex choose mates. This can involve one sex choosing a mate of the opposite sex, for example, what you see here in this mating display put on by this bird of paradise, where this very plain looking female is basically going to see whether or not she's impressed with this dude's stuff and shoes, whether or not she wants to meet with him now, this can also take the form of competition between members of the same sex, for example, Uh, Rams, you know, which will smash heads to compete for who gets to mate. Now females tend to choose their mates when they're the ones doing the choosing, based on signs of fitness and health. Now, even though this bird's dance and its feathers might not seem like obvious signs of fitness and health, the plumage, color and its ability to perform those types of you know precise movements can actually be indicators. In a sense, a new, indirect sense of this animal's health and fitness Now mate choice copying is an interesting phenomenon. Seen Sometimes we're individuals in a population are more likely to mate with an individual who's previously made it. So, for example, you'll see this in, uh, certain species like guppies, where, you know, one if a female witnesses a male mate with another female, that female that watched them. No, it sounds kind of creepy, but let's just forget about it for a second. Don't think about it. The female that watched them is going to then be more likely to mate with that male, and that is an example of mate choice copying. Now, parental care is important because it can help improve the chances of raising viable offspring. Males actually will tend to help with parental care in species that require a lot of attention and help feeding. And it seems that the certainty of paternity that is how certain the mail is that those offspring are its offspring seems to have an effect on male parental care. And you'll actually see ah, higher rates of male parental care in species with external fertilization. Because the males, it's thought, have a greater certainty of paternity because they'll go right up to the eggs and fertilize them right there is supposed to internal fertilization, where some other organism could. Some other male could have internally fertilized this organism and, you know it could be its offspring. Just it's harder to know. So here you see an example of some parental care where these little chicks kind of gross looking chicks, to be honest, are going thio, get fed by the parent here. And of course, here you can see a wonderful example off human parental, and that is paternal care. All right, let's flip the page