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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Cannibal-Style Parenting
24 January 2014 5:00 am
It may be an act of care, not sacrifice, when a male dyeing poison frog (Dendrobates tinctorius) leaves his newborn in water inhabited by larger, cannibalistic tadpoles. That’s the conclusion of a new study in which researchers observed the behavior of the 2-inch-long dyeing poison frogs around pools of water in French Guiana. When tadpoles hatch out of eggs, fathers carry their new offspring—one or two at a time stuck on their back—to small pools of water that have collected in plants or tree trunks, where the tadpoles are left alone to mature. Researchers found that while pool size and depth had little bearing on whether tadpoles were dropped off, the fathers were most likely to leave their newborns in pools that already housed larger, more mature tadpoles known to cannibalize smaller tadpoles. It may be dangerous for the newcomers, but it also indicates that the pool has the proper conditions for a frog to grow, the researchers hypothesize in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. In the natural pools observed, holding about 50 tadpoles at any given time, only 12 acts of cannibalism were observed during the study period, suggesting that many tadpoles make it to maturity without being eaten. More work will help researchers understand how the counterintuitive behavior has evolved and how pressure on habitats may have played a role.