January 14, 2010
January 14 - Cuculus canorus
Parasites aren't all squirmy worms or microscopic organisms. Sometimes they are devious birds. The common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, is the classic example of a brood parasite - an organism that lets another raise its offspring. Female cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, tossing out one of the host's eggs (because birds are very good at counting!). The young cuckoos often hatch first, grow larger, and will kick out the baby host birds. Cuckoos have even evolved the capacity to mimic the eggs of most of their hosts.