Breeding pair

Breeding pair is a pair of animals which cooperate to produce offspring. In contrast to any two copulating animals, the term breeding pair indicates some form of a bond between the individuals. For example, many birds mate for a breeding season or sometimes for life. They may share some or all of the tasks involved: building a nest, incubating the eggs and feeding and protecting the young. The term is not generally used when a male has a harem of females, such as with mountain gorillas.

True breeding pairs are usually found only in vertebrates, but there are notable exceptions, such as Lord Howe Island stick insect. True breeding pairs are rare in amphibians or reptiles, but fairly common with fish (e.g. discus) and especially birds. Interestingly breeding pair type, of arrangements are rare in mammals, where the prevailing patterns are either that the male and female only meet for copulation (e.g. brown bear) or that dominant males have a harem of females (e.g. walrus).

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