11 May, 2012

Humans cultivate more than food, producing clothing, construction materials, fuel, drugs, and ornaments. A population of male spotted bowerbirds Ptilonorhynchus (Chlamydera) maculata uses fruits of Solanum ellipticum (Figure 1A), not as food but as important components of their sexual display [2,3]. Here, we show that males indirectly cultivate plants bearing these fruit — the first example of cultivation of a non-food item by a species other than humans.

Current Biology - Male spotted bowerbirds propagate fruit for use in their sexual display