Excellent Hair Fall Treatment
Search: Look for:   Last 1 Month   Last 6 Months   All time

Bowerbirds cultivate fruit-bearing plants to attract females

Washington , Tue, 24 Apr 2012 ANI
null

Washington, April 24 (ANI): Scientists have discovered the first evidence of a non-human species cultivating plants for use other than as food.

They have revealed that bowerbirds propagate fruits used as decorations in their sexual displays.

Researchers at the Universities of Exeter (UK), Postdam (Germany), Deakin and Queensland (Australia) discovered male bowerbirds had unusually high numbers of fruit-bearing plants growing around their bowers, and used these fruits in order to attract females.

This is the first time a species other than humans has been found to cultivate non-food plants. However, the scientists do not believe the bowerbirds are intentionally cultivating the plants: it is more likely that they are growing around their bowers as a result of the birds gathering fruits for display.

Native to Australia and Papua New Guinea, bowerbirds are well known for their unique courtship behaviour, which involves males building ornate bowers. Males gather brightly-coloured objects to decorate their bowers, in order to attract females.

The research team observed bowerbirds in Taunton National Park, Central Queensland. They found higher numbers of Solanum ellipticum, or potato bush, plants around bowers than in other locations.

These plants have bright purple flowers and green fruit. Their research showed that the birds were not selecting locations with a high number of the plants, but rather that they were growing plants around their bowers.

Bowers with many fruit on them are especially attractive to choosy females. Males collect the fruits, but when the fruits shrivel, they discard them nearby. This results in seeds germinating in the ground around the bower.

Bowerbirds clear the area around their bower of grass and weeds, making ideal conditions for new plants to germinate. Male bowerbirds can maintain a bower in the same location for up to ten years, so will benefit from establishing plants that may survive for several years.

The researchers found that, like farmers selecting for fatter pigs or larger seeds, the bird's behaviour may lead to a change in the appearance of fruits.

The fruits from plants close to the bowers were slightly greener in colour than those found on other plants. The researchers tested the males' choices and found they preferred this colour to that of the other fruit.

"Until now, humans have been the only species known to cultivate plants for uses other than food. We grow plants for all kinds of things - from drugs, to clothing, to props that we use in our sexual displays such as roses - but it seems we are not unique in this respect," said lead researcher Dr Joah Madden.

"We do not believe bowerbirds are intentionally growing these plants, but this accumulation of preferred objects close to a site of habitation is arguably the way any cultivation begins. It will be very interesting to see how this mutually-beneficial relationship between bowerbirds and these plants develops," he added.

The finding was published in Current Biology. (ANI)

null


null
LATEST IMAGES
King of Bhutan, the Bhutan Queen and Crown Prince meeting the PM Modi
PM Narendra Modi welcomes the King of Bhutan
PM Modi paying tributes at the portrait of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
People take part in the Run For Unity on the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
PM Modi flagging off the Run For Unity on the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
null
null
Post comments:
Your Name (*) :
Your Email :
Your Phone :
Your Comment (*):
  Reload Image
 
 

Comments:


   

OTHER TOP STORIES


Excellent Hair Fall Treatment
Careers | Privacy Policy | Feedback | About Us | Contact Us | | Latest News
Copyright © 2015 NEWS TRACK India All rights reserved.