Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Super Spiders Make Bolder Birds

Date:
August 29, 2007
Source:
University Of Glasgow
Summary:
Recent research has revealed that by feeding spiders to their chicks, birds can manipulate the personality and learning ability of their young. Researchers reveal that birds preferentially feed their young spiders containing taurine. Chicks fed taurine were on average much bolder and better at learning in adulthood, according to the researchers. Taurine is an amino acid which is also found in breast milk and energy drinks. The beneficial qualities of taurine include aiding the development of premature babies and reducing blood pressure in human adults, but it has not previously been known how taurine influences the development of birds.

Birds fed taurine as chicks were on average much bolder and better at learning in adulthood, than their counterparts who were not fed the extra taurine.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Glasgow

Recent research has revealed that by feeding spiders to their chicks, birds can manipulate the personality and learning ability of their young.

In a report recently published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, University of Glasgow researchers reveal that birds preferentially feed their young spiders containing taurine.

Taurine is an amino acid which is also found in breast milk and energy drinks. The beneficial qualities of taurine include aiding the development of premature babies and reducing blood pressure in human adults, but it has not previously been known how taurine influences the development of birds.

By comparing the behaviour of wild blue tits that were fed a taurine supplement, mimicking a diet rich in spiders, with blue tits that were not, researchers were able to observe the long term impacts of this vital nutrient.

Lead researcher Dr Kate Arnold said: “We found that taurine has a significant impact on the personality and memory of the birds. Those who were fed taurine as chicks were on average much bolder and better at learning in adulthood, than their counterparts who were not fed the extra taurine. This is the first time that we have been able to fully explain why birds feed their young spiders at a particular stage in their development and how parents can permanently alter the behaviour of their offspring via the food that they select.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Glasgow. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Glasgow. "Super Spiders Make Bolder Birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070824220328.htm>.
University Of Glasgow. (2007, August 29). Super Spiders Make Bolder Birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070824220328.htm
University Of Glasgow. "Super Spiders Make Bolder Birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070824220328.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins