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Brood Parasites, Cuckoo

APBIO-NRULWJ

Brood parasites are organisms that rely on others to raise their young. The strategy appears among a wide variety of animals, including insects, fishes, and birds. A common strategy of the brood parasite is to trick a host parent to raise the parasite’s young as if it belonged to the host.

Cuckoo Eggs Mimicking Reed Warbler Eggs" by Chiswick Chap - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Creative Commons

For example, the cuckoo will lay its egg in nests belonging to the reed warbler seemingly with the intent for the warbler to hatch and feed the cuckoo hatchling.

Which of the following is the MOST plausible benefit for the parasite?

A

The reed warbler hatchlings will, on average, be fed more than the impostor cuckoo hatchling and, as a result, will be more likely to survive.

B

The resources required by the reed warbler in order to raise the cuckoo young will negatively impact the reed warbler offspring leading to a competitive advantage the cuckoo population.

C

The reed warbler will notice the presence of the cuckoo egg and eject it from the nest.

D

Once fledged, the cuckoo offspring will mimic the reed warbler behaviors, interbreed among the warbler population, and assimilate as a warbler.