Trivia question for Feb-14-2011
Happy Valentines Day 😉
To help celebrate this special day, Olivia decided to pick a species who is known for their passion and commitment to their partner, so here goes:
The Emperor Penguins are known for their monogamous relationship with their mates. They start courtship in March or April, when the temperature can be as low as −40 °F. A lone male gives an ecstatic display, where it stands still and places its head on its chest before inhaling and giving a courtship call for 1–2 seconds; it then moves around the colony and repeats the call.
A male and female then stand face to face, with one extending its head and neck up and the other mirroring it; they both hold this posture for several minutes. Once in pairs, couples waddle around the colony together, with the female usually following the male. Before copulation, one bird bows deeply to its mate, its bill pointed close to the ground, and its mate then does the same.
Did you know that in 2009, satellite images of areas of excrement-stained ice that are large enough to be visible from space helped scientists to discover ten previously unknown emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica? Too cool.
So here’s our questions. Are Emperor Penguins truly monogamous, and also, tell us what their current Conservation Status is (i.e. listed as endangered, critically endangered, least at risk etc.)?
Good Luck 😉
Congratulations to Samantha for being the first with the correct answer and for the kind email. Emperor Penguins are serially monogamous. They have only one mate each year, and stay faithful to that mate. However, fidelity between years is only about 15%. The narrow window of opportunity available for mating appears to be an influence, as there is a priority to mate and breed which often precludes waiting for the appearance of the previous year’s partner.
As for their conservation status, the Emperor Penguin is listed as a species of “least concern” by the IUCN. Along with nine other species of penguin, it is currently under consideration for inclusion under the US Endangered Species Act. The primary reasons for this are declining food availability due to the effects of climate change and industrial fisheries on the crustacean and fish populations. Other reasons for their potential placement on this list include disease, habitat destruction, and disturbance at breeding colonies by humans. Of particular concern is the impact of tourism.
Here is more on these awesome looking birds: Emperor Penguins:
Thanks for playing along 😉