Tag Archives: offspring

Reproductive Strategies for Survival in Animals


This week we start Chapter 12: Reproductive Strategies for Survival. Reproductive strategies include structual, functional and behavioural adaptations that increase opportunities for fertilization and/or improve survival of offspring. In the animal kingdom there are many different types of reproductive strategies:

  • Type of reproduction (sexual or asexual)
  • Gender system (separate male/female; hermaphrodite; parthenogenesis)
  • Mode of fertilisation (internal or external)
  • Mating system (monogamy; polygamy or promiscuity)
  • Numbers of offspring (r-selected or K-selected)
  • Place of development and source of nutrition for the embryo (oviparity or vivaparity)
  • Investment of parental care into offspring (nil, single parent or both parents, extended family)

Reproductive behaviours

lyrebird display

Over the next two weeks we will be studying the various reproductive strategies of plants and animals, ranging from the broadcast spawning of coral polyps and boxfish (r-strategy) to the K-strategy of whales and other mammals, in which much energy is expended in gestation and caring for the offspring. The prominent tail feathers of the male lyrebird serve to attract passing females. The male does not put energy into producing eggs or caring for offspring, but puts much energy into growing long tail feathers and putting on reproductive displays.

Quiz on reproductive strategies:

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