Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Alloparental Care

  • S. SteadEmail author
  • S. Mucha
  • I. Bădescu
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1400-1



“Alloparental care” is care that is directed by an individual (an alloparent) toward dependent young that are not their offspring (Wilson 1975). The act of providing alloparental care is referred to as “alloparenting.”

Types of Alloparental Care

Alloparental care has been reported widely across the animal kingdom, specifically in birds (Koenig and Dickinson 2004), fishes (Wisenden 1999), invertebrates (Wilson 1971), and mammals (Solomon and French 1997). Animals employ a variety of strategies to produce and rear their young, which influences the ways that alloparents can contribute care. Most birds, fishes, and invertebrates lay eggs, while all mammals (aside from monotremes) give birth to live young. In most mammals, milk is the sole medium of nutrient intake for young during the first stage of life. In other taxa, young immediately feed on similar materials to mature individuals, either with the...

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Copyright information

© Crown 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyHumboldt-UniversitätBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Departement d’AnthropologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peggy Mason
    • 1
  • Yuri Sugano
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.NeurobiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA