By Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor:
Being a single dad may not be a drag - it actually may help a male survive and attract females, based on findings about a relative of spiders.
Single fatherhood is the rarest form of parental care in nature. Still, males are often the sole caretakers of progeny among a number of species of daddy longlegs, relatives of spiders also known as harvestmen. In these species, fathers are exclusively responsible for guarding eggs that females lay on the undersides of leaves; the males remain on the eggs nearly constantly for months.
To see why such unusual arrangements might last, researchers investigated a species of harvestman, Iporangaia pustulosa, found in the rain forests of southeastern Brazil. The researchers inspected vegetation alongside about 650 feet (200 meters) of river three times a day during four consecutive days per month over the course of a year and tagged the elusive arachnids with dabs of paint...