Are You My Mother?

  • By Rachel VanCott
  • Posted 04.01.09
  • NOVA scienceNOW

Fish, insects, and particularly birds sometimes use devious tactics to trick other animals into feeding, protecting, and otherwise raising their young, a practice ecologists call "brood parasitism." In this slide show, take a look at some of the species that engage in the practice and the tactics they have evolved, from grisly competition to more subtle deception.

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From savage cowbirds to more subtle catfish, see a range of species that trick others into raising their young.



(robin and cowbird eggs)
© Don Johnston/Getty
(cowbird and wren nestlings)
© Rolf Nussbaumer/
© Nigel J. Dennis, Gallo Images/CORBIS
© Stan Osolinski/Oxford Scientific
(cliff swallows)
© Claude Steelman/Oxford Scientific
(wren and cuckoo)
© Bildagentur/TIPS Italia
(cichlid and catfish)
© Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone/Oxford Scientific
(cuckoo wasp)
© Rafi Ben-Shahar/Oxford Scientific

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