Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fish study links brain size to parental duties

Date:
August 19, 2014
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Male stickleback fish that protect their young have bigger brains than counterparts that don't care for offspring, finds a new study. "This suggests that regular sticklebacks have bigger brains to handle the brain power needed to care for and protect their young," says the study's lead author. "This is one of the first studies to link parental care with brain size."

A male common stickleback and his babies are shown.
Credit: Nicole Bedford

Male stickleback fish that protect their young have bigger brains than counterparts that don't care for offspring, finds a new University of British Columbia study.

Stickleback fish are well known in the animal kingdom for the fact that the male of the species, rather than the female, cares for offspring. Male sticklebacks typically have bigger brains than females and researchers wanted to find out if the difference in size might relate to their role as caregivers.

In the study, published recently in Ecology and Evolution, researchers compared regular male sticklebacks to male white sticklebacks, which do not tend to their offspring. They found evidence that this change in male behaviour -- giving up caring for the young -- occurred at the same time the white stickleback evolved a smaller brain.

"This suggests that regular sticklebacks have bigger brains to handle the brain power needed to care for and protect their young," says Kieran Samuk, a PhD student in UBC's Dept. of Zoology and the study's lead author. "This is one of the first studies to link parental care with brain size."

The white stickleback is a relatively young species that only diverged from other sticklebacks 10,000 years ago, offering researchers some insight into how quickly brains can evolve.

"Our study tells us that brains might change in very drastic ways in a relatively short period of time. This helps us understand how physical changes such as brain size can lead to more complex behavioural changes," says Samuk.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kieran Samuk, Davis Iritani, Dolph Schluter. Reversed brain size sexual dimorphism accompanies loss of parental care in white sticklebacks. Ecology and Evolution, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1175

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Fish study links brain size to parental duties." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819083448.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2014, August 19). Fish study links brain size to parental duties. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819083448.htm
University of British Columbia. "Fish study links brain size to parental duties." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819083448.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
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