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For glass frogs, moms matter after all

Just a few hours of motherly attention help eggs survive

7:00am, March 31, 2017
Cochranella granulosa glass frog

MOM MATTERS  The few hours that a mother Cochranella granulosa glass frog (shown in Panama) huddles over her brood may be brief, but this previously unknown maternal care boosts offspring survival. 

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Glass frogs often start life with some tender care from a source scientists didn’t expect: frog moms.

Maternal care wouldn’t be news among mammals or birds, but amphibian parenting intrigues biologists because dads are about as likely as moms to evolve as the caregiver sex. And among New World glass frogs (Centrolenidae), what little parental care there is almost always is dad’s job — or so scientists thought, says Jesse Delia of Boston University.

Months of strenuous nights searching streamside leaves in five countries, however, have revealed a widespread world of brief, but important, female care in glass frogs. In examining 40 species, Delia and Laura Bravo-Valencia, now at Corantioquia, a government environmental agency in Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia, found that often mothers lingered over newly laid eggs for several hours. By pressing maternal

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