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As I write this blog, I see visions of kids everywhere in schools and nurseries sticking bits of glitter and paper flowers to collage cards, while many of us try to remember not to forget to send a card to our mums everwhere. Yes, it's Mother's Day on Sunday, but spare a thought for the other mothers in Nature.

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Elephas maximus to Elephas maximus minor, 'Where's my card? I told you an elephant never forgets'

Both the Indian elephant (above) and African elephant mums' pregnancies last about 22 months and a calf weighs around 120 kg at birth - twins are also common. Then there's the calf rearing and suckling, which is long and slow for 2 to 3 years - a task that falls entirely to the females. But all the females in a group are involved in a calf's upbringing and protection. Elephant mums are definitely worth making cards for.

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Sexual Nature exhibition's prolific ocean sunfish mum (left) and the oldest pregnant female on display: 375-million-year-old placoderm fish fossil (right). Select images to enlarge them

Orang-utan mothers spend 4 years caring for each offspring. Sperm whale mothers and their calves live together in groups called nursery pods. In striped hyena families, the females raise their offspring alone and definitely don't encourage long-term support from the males. And ocean sunfish (above) produce 300 million eggs each time they spawn.

 

if you're interested in knowing more of this mumsy stuff and how the female of the species end up becoming mums in the first place, then come along to our Sexual Nature exhibition.You'll also encounter the oldest internally fertilised mother. The pregnant placoderm fish fossil (above) on display in the exhibition gallery is 375 million years old!

 

See the Sexual Nature exhibition video trailer for more highlights

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And on Sunday if you're out enjoying the spring flowers, see if the bluebells are out near you and tell us in our just-launched bluebell survey

 

Read the latest news story about the bluebell survey