Reproduction

Overview  (Britannica, n.d.) (The Marine Mammal Center, n.d.)
Name Monkey puzzle (Araucaria araucana Blue Whale

(Balaenoptera musculus)

Lifespan 1200 Year or more (Tella et al., 2016) Unknown estimated 80 to 90 years (OSPAR Commission, 2010)
Sexual Maturity Age When the trunk reaches 20 cm d.b.h(Diameter at breast height) and is aged 30 years or more. (Tella et al., 2016) Between 8-10 years of age (OSPAR Commission, 2010)
Reproductive Organs Diecious male and female cones are most commonly borne on separate individuals (Tella et al., 2016) Diecious, separate male and female specimens (Schall et al., 2019)
Reproductive Method Females produce large cones containing 100-200 seeds which are pollinated by wind currents during Summer (Tella et al., 2016) Elaborate mating rituals and acoustic exchanges between a male and female (Schall et al., 2019)
Gestation period 16-18 months (Tella et al., 2016) Approximately 1 year with calves being born typically in December to February. Can only reproduce every two to three years (OSPAR Commission,2010).

 

Both Monkey Puzzle Tree’s and Blue Whales are listed as endangered species and a large factor in this reduction in population is human activity. According to research by  Tella et al., (2016) Monkey puzzle trees have had the small range of their distribution gradually reduced or fragmented by 40% to approximately 392 km2, increasingly so in the last twenty five years with increasing human activities damaging to ecosystems such as logging, foraging, farming and planned burning (Premoli et al., 2013).  Similarly Blue Whale population’s had seen significant reductions due to industrial scale whaling, estimated to be 90%,  until becoming protected in 1966, but  population estimates for the North Pacific indicate numbers reaching pre-whaling, though they remain classed as  endangered (Calambokidis et al., 2009).

Monkey Puzzle trees are dioecious a biologic classification they share with Blue Whales, meaning distinct separate male and female specimens. However reproduction methods are significantly different. Monkey Puzzle trees females produce a large number of seeds, between 100 and 200 per large cone though seed establishment is low, and these are pollinated through wind currents, taking  16-18 months to mature (Tella et al., 2016).  Blue Whales migrate in winter to warmer waters to reproduce in pairs through sexual reproduction, the male contributing haploid sperm to fertilize a haploid egg within the female resulting in generation of a diploid zygote(Alberts et al., 2002) which takes 11 to 12 months to be born (OSPAR Commission, 2010).

A notably difference between Monkey Puzzle Trees and Blue Whales is found in the care of offspring post reproduction. The Monkey Puzzle Tree has no involvement with offspring, leaving seeds falling to the forest floor at the mercy of foraging humans and animals. Tella et al., (2016) found all but one tree in a sample of 516 were visited by at least one seed predator. The opposite is true of Blue Whales, the usually single offspring, called calves, is completely dependent on its mother for the first seven to 8 months. She can sacrifice as much as 50 tonnes, a third of her total mass during rearing as a calve, providing minimum 190 litres of high fat milk a day, and offering a degree of protection against predators, most significantly the Killer Whale (OSPAR Commission, 2010).

Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K. And Walter, P. (2002). The Benefits of Sex. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26823/ [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

Calambokidis, J., Barlow, J., Ford, J.K.B., Chandler, T.E. and Douglas, A.B. (2009). Insights into the population structure of blue whales in the Eastern North Pacific from recent sightings and photographic identification. Marine Mammal Science, [online] 25(4), pp.816–832. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-7692.2009.00298.x (Accessed on 04 December

OSPAR Commission. (2010). Background Document for Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus 2010. [online] Available at: https://www.ospar.org/work-areas/bdc/species-habitats/list-of-threatened-declining-species-habitats/marine-mammals/blue-whale [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022]

Premoli, A., Quiroga, P. & Gardner, M. (2013). Araucaria araucana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T31355A2805113. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T31 Accessed 355A2805113.en. (Accessed on 04 December 2022.)

Tella, J.L., Lambertucci, S.A., Speziale, K.L. and Hiraldo, F. (2016). Large-scale impacts of multiple co-occurring invaders on monkey puzzle forest regeneration, native seed predators and their ecological interactions. Global Ecology and Conservation, [online] 6 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989415300275 [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022]

Britannica (n.d.). [Image] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/plant/monkey-puzzle-tree [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022].

OSPAR Commission. (2010). Background Document for Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus 2010. [online] Available at: https://www.ospar.org/work-areas/bdc/species-habitats/list-of-threatened-declining-species-habitats/marine-mammals/blue-whale [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022]

Schall, E., Di Iorio, L., Berchok, C., Filún, D., Bedriñana‐Romano, L., Buchan, S.J., Van Opzeeland, I., Sears, R. and Hucke‐Gaete, R. (2019). Visual and passive acoustic observations of blue whale trios from two distinct populations. Marine Mammal Science, [online] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mms.12643 [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022]

Tella, J.L., Lambertucci, S.A., Speziale, K.L. and Hiraldo, F. (2016). Large-scale impacts of multiple co-occurring invaders on monkey puzzle forest regeneration, native seed predators and their ecological interactions. Global Ecology and Conservation, [online] 6 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989415300275 [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022]

The Marine Mammal Center (n.d.). [Image] https://www.marinemammalcenter.org/animal-care/learn-about-marine-mammals/cetaceans/blue-whale#:~:text=Breeding%20%26%20Behavior,to%20February%20in%20low%20latitudes.. [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022]