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Author Topic: How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?  (Read 3532 times)

Samir Abdallah

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How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?
« on: 09/10/2009 14:30:03 »
Samir Abdallah asked the Naked Scientists:
   
How does the cuckoo chick know it is a cuckoo if reared by other species? how is imprinting avoided?

What do you think?


 

Offline yor_on

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How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?
« Reply #1 on: 04/12/2009 19:48:51 »
It has to be a genetic feature, some simple combination of imprinted stimuli that tells a cuckoo male that that 6:y cuckoo female means business.
 

Offline chris

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How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?
« Reply #2 on: 05/12/2009 22:44:13 »
There's a suggestion (though not proven I don't think) that perhaps the parent re-visits the chick during its upbringing to imprint cuckoo self-awareness upon it.

Chris
 

Offline RD

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How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?
« Reply #3 on: 06/12/2009 08:31:40 »
There would be an advantage for the female cuckoo chick to imprint (remember) its host species : the egg from which the cuckoo chick hatched was presumably a reasonable match with the hosts eggs. So when that female cuckoo lays it would be advantageous to do so in a nest of same species as its adopted parents, (so its egg matches and is not rejected by the host).   
« Last Edit: 06/12/2009 08:33:57 by RD »
 

Offline atrox

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How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?
« Reply #4 on: 23/12/2009 00:07:05 »
The interessting thing is, that there are special female "lines" (RNA of the Mitochondria). Every Line has its specific Host species, which it is adapted best to (color of the eggs ans egg-size can differ a lot!). The only reason, why they dinīt split into different races are the males, which donīt care on which host the female is best adapted to.

On display, the male cuckoo sings his well-known song to attract a female and to realize the pairing. I think, the chick did hear this song, when it was jung (or maybe, when it still was in the Egg), because the hosts nest is of course situated in the area of the singing cuckoomales district. So maybe the cuckoos donīt know who they are, they just like the song ;-)
 

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How does a cuckoo know it's a cuckoo?
« Reply #4 on: 23/12/2009 00:07:05 »

 

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