The key difference between nidifugous and nidicolous is that nidifugous is an animal that leaves its birthplace shortly after birth, while nidicolous is an animal that stays at its birthplace for a long time.
Nidifugous and nidicolous are two phenomena associated with parental investment. Parental investment or parental care is a branch of life history theory. It is the allocation of resources, time, or energy to offspring by parents. Parental investment can be performed by both parents, lone females or lone males male. It can also be provided at any stage of the life of offspring, such as from prenatal to postnatal. The earliest description of parental investment was given by Ronald Fisher in 1930.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Nidifugous
3. What is Nidicolous
4. Similarities – Nidifugous and Nidicolous
5. Nidifugous vs Nidicolous in Tabular Form
6. Summary –Nidifugous and Nidicolous
What is Nidifugous?
Nidifugous is an animal that leaves its nest or birthplace shortly after birth. This term is derived from Latin language nidi for” nest” and fugere for “flee”. The term “nidifugous” is often associated with birds. It was originally introduced by naturalist Lorenz Oken in 1816. Lorenz was a German naturalist, botanist, biologist, and ornithologist. Lorenz Oken argued that there are only five classes of animals. They are Dermatozoa (invertebrates), Glossozoa (fish), Rhinozoa (reptiles), Otozoa (birds), and Ophthalmozoa (mammals).
The chicks of birds in families such as waders, waterfowl, and gamebirds are normally nidifugous. The term nidifugous is often used synonymously with the term precocial. Precocial species are species whose young ones are relatively mature. Precocial species are also born with open eyes and are mobile (independent locomotion) from the moment of their birth (or hatching). Precocial species are often nidifugous. Superprecocial refers to species that are extremely precocial. Some examples include megapode birds, enantiornithines and pterosaurs. However, not all precocial birds leave their nest.
What is Nidicolous?
Nidicolous is an animal that stays at its birthplace for a long time. This term is derived from Latin language: nidi for “nest” and colus for “inhabiting”. These species depend on their parents for food, protection, and learning survival skills. Nidicolous species can’t leave their parents quickly and survive independently. They are the opposite of nidifugous species. During its lifetime, the brain of a nidicolous animal expands 8 to 10 times its initial size.
There are two other terms often used by scientists for related developmental phenomena: altricial and precocial. Altricial species are underdeveloped at birth, helpless, blind, without feathers, and unable to fend for themselves on their own. There are many similarities between altricial and nidicolous species, as all altricial animals are nidicolous by necessity. However, the terms are not identical. Precocial species, on the other hand, are relatively mature at birth and are able to fend for themselves. But a precocial animal may even be nidicolous and fully capable of leaving if needed. For example, gulls and terns are animals who are precocial but nidicolous. Moreover, true examples of nidicolous species include mammals and many species of birds.
What are the Similarities Between Nidifugous and Nidicolous?
- Nidifugous and nidicolous are two phenomena associated with the parental investment.
- They are developmental phenomena.
- Birds can be nidifugous or nidicolous.
- These terms are derived from the Latin language.
- Both terms were coined by Lorenz Oken.
What is the Difference Between Nidifugous and Nidicolous?
Nidifugous is an animal that leaves its birthplace shortly after birth, while nidicolous is an animal that stays at its birthplace for a long time. So, this is the key difference between nidifugous and nidicolous. Furthermore, nidifugous animals do not depend on their parents for food, protection, and learning survival skills, while nidicolous animals depend on their parents for food, protection and learn survival skills from parents.
The below infographic lists the differences between nidifugous and nidicolous in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Nidifugous vs Nidicolous
Parental investment is the allocation of resources, time or energy to offspring by parents. Nidifugous and nidicolous are two phenomena associated with the parental investment. Nidifugous animal leaves the birthplace shortly after birth while nidicolous animal stays at its birthplace for a long time. Thus, this is the key difference between nidifugous and nidicolous.
1. “Nidifugous.” Psychology Wiki.
2. Rahulsharma, et al. “Nidicolous and Nidifugous Birds….” Indian Savanna, 22 Mar. 2016.
1. “Pheasant-male-pheasant-game-bird” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Two, brown, elephant calves, parents, daytime, elephants, elephant, wild elephant, animal, mammals” (CC0) via Pxfuel
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