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Which Extreme Animal Mother Is Yo Mamma's Spirit Animal? (CSIRO Poll)

At CSIRO we’re celebrating Mother’s Day by helping you find yo’ mamma’s spirit animal. Any of these animal behaviours sound familiar?

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1. Fairywren - Salacious mamma

Benjamint444/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA http://3.0 / Via Wikipedia

In the daytime these cute little mothers are devoutly monogamous to their good fathering partner. But with the sun down, these ladies flit about, getting knocked up by other more attractive suitors. These mothers pick the best clandestine suitors for their chicks' genes, but the best father to look after them once they hatch.

2. Spider - Sacrificial mamma

Wikimedia / Via Wikipedia

This sacrificial spider mamma lets her children eat her for their first precious meal. She even pretends to be prey for their benefit. That's commitment.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=coUd6d3j_6g

3. Fig wasp - Micro-labyrinth champ

James Niland/Flickr/CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr

These Australian wasp girls are born inside figs wherein male fig residents swiftly mate with them. The males dig their way out of the fig, dying along the way. The impregnated females leave through the males' tunnels, and fly off to find another fig. They enter the new fig through a minuscule opening so small that it tears her body parts off. She struggles inside and pollinates the fig's flowers, laying her babies inside. Ad infinitum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfkiYfrStrU

4. Sponge shrimp - "Till death do us part"

NOAA Photo library/Flickr/CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr

Shrimp girl meets shrimp boy. The newly weds enter the tiny entrance of a Venus' flower basket sponge. The couple moults and moults, growing deeper and deeper in love (or familiarity at the very least). Before they know it, they can't escape their house because they're too big for the entry. They mate and produce a new generation. The littlies swim from the house and go off in search of a new partner and a new home

5. Surinam toad - Miss Piggy back

PBS/Giphy / Via Giphy

This amphibian mamma embeds her eggs into the skin on her back. The eggs hatch inside her skin and develop as larval toadpoles, emerging from her back as metamorphosed toadlets.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=mZ7b4spjXhw

6. Anglerfish - And you thought your partner was clingy

Matias Singers / Matias Singers - @matiassingers / Via Flickr

"Why don't you look at me anymore?"

This is indeed a lady anglerfish. Males are so small, they were first thought to be crustacean parasites. To become a mother, these fish must endure the following:

Rogue males cannot live independently so they seek out a female. Once a lady is found, the male uses enzymes to melt away his face and the underbelly of their lucky lady. The male fuses his face to her underside and connects up their circulatory systems. The nutrients in the female's blood nourishes the parasitic partner (like an umbilical cord). Eventually he injects sperm into her system, thus making her the luckiest lady in the world.

7. Cuckoo Host (Currawong) - Best surrogate mamma

Flickr/Jurgen Otto/CC BY-NC-ND http://2.0 / Via Flickr

Cuckoos are parasitic birds that lay their eggs in the nests of host species. Some species will even destroy the eggs of the host species so their own parasitic offspring have the best opportunity. This cuckoo is a channel-billed cuckoo chick being fed by its tired, underfed, and under-sized host parent, a currawong.

8. Termite Queen - A reproductive

Giancarlodessi/Wikimedia/Public Doman / Via Wikipedia

This mum lives for baby-making. Guess how many eggs she can make in a day?

Between 20 and 30 THOUSAND. 30,000 eggs.

She can't even move around, so she needs her kids to carry her.

9. Deep sea Octopus - Octomom

neptunecanada/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA http://2.0 / Via Flickr

These mums watch over and aerate their eggs for 4½ years, that's 54 months. One individual studied by scientists stayed with her eggs for the entire period, fanning them gently, guarding them from predators, and never leaving to feed. As the eggs grew, she wasted away. Once the babies had hatched, she was gone.

This octopus has the longest egg-brooding period of any animal species.

10. Clownfish - "Go ask your father"

JamesDPhotography/Flickr/CC BY-ND http://2.0 / Via Flickr

Clownfish begin life as gender indeterminate fry. Since these fish are social, a dominant mother mates with high-ranking male clowns. If disaster strikes and this clown mamma passes, one of the dads will rewire and become the new matriarch. Now that's an extreme mother!

11. Meerkat - Manners

Andrew Radford/Sophie Lanfear/Alex Thornton/Katherine McAuliffe / Via Live Science

These outwardly considerate mothers feed their young pups with dead scorpions. Once these cutey youngsters grow up a little, their mums will deliver alive scorpions, but she will first bite their stingers off! Adorable, huh?

Once the pups are more mature still, she'll find and deliver alive scorpions, sting intact. Once old enough, the young will find their own prey.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48rhtgtNxRI

12. Beavers - Leave it to beaver mothers

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com / Via YouTube

Beaver parents are industrious and persistent. Apart from damming up rivers for their livelihoods, they can spend up to a month building a lodge for their family. The lodges can have tonnes of material and 3 rooms (each with en suite access to the water), including a nursery and sleeping quarters. The parents will nurse their young for 2 months.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=VuMRDZbrdXc

13. Homo sapiens - Classic mamma

Ian/Flickr/CC BY-NC http://2.0 / Via Flickr

These primates have an extraordinary reproductive system. With their over-sized heads, (necessary to contain their uniquely large nervous systems) mothers of this species have a 9 month gestation period followed by extremely agonising child-birth. Their litter is normally restricted to a single offspring, but can sometimes be more numerous. Following birth, the offspring must be cared for for up to 18 years, and even up to the child's entire lifespan in extraordinary cases.

  1. Which Extreme Animal Mother Do You Have?

    Michele W/Flickr/CC BY-ND http://2.0 / Via Flickr
    Fairywren - Salacious mamma
    Spider - Sacrificial mamma
    Wikimedia/Benjamint444/CC BY-SA http://3.0 / Via Wikipedia
    Fig wasp - Micro-labyrinth champ
    Sponge shrimp - "Till death do us part"
    Surinam toad - Miss Piggy back
    Anglerfish - Clingy partners
    Host bird - Best surrogate mamma
    Termite Queen
    Deep Sea Octopus - Octomom
    Clownfish - "Go ask your father'
    Meerkat - Manners
    Beaver - Leave it to beaver mothers
    Homo sapiens - Classic mamma

Which Extreme Animal Mother Is Yo Mamma's Spirit Animal? (CSIRO Poll)

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Which Extreme Animal Mother Do You Have?

  1.  
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    Fairywren - Salacious mamma
  2. Spider - Sacrificial mamma
     
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    Spider - Sacrificial mamma
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    Fig wasp - Micro-labyrinth champ
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    Sponge shrimp - "Till death do us part"
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    Surinam toad - Miss Piggy back
  6.  
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    Anglerfish - Clingy partners
  7.  
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    Host bird - Best surrogate mamma
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    Termite Queen
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    Deep Sea Octopus - Octomom
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    Clownfish - "Go ask your father'
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    Meerkat - Manners
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    Beaver - Leave it to beaver mothers
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    Homo sapiens - Classic mamma

For more information on our research with Aussie plants and animals, click here.

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