For many denizens of the animal kingdom, intercourse is primarily a method to an finish: spreading your genes round for the following technology. However as you might know, that doesn’t imply animal intercourse must be mundane or vanilla. Some, like people, go nice lengths to make their intercourse lives attention-grabbing. Whether or not by means of unbelievable stamina, inventive copulation strategies, or mating rituals that outclass most human courtships, the world of animal intercourse is crammed with uncommon tales.
Listed here are 5 of the weirdest, most sexual creatures.
The males amongst these tree-dwelling little rodents apply what scientists name semelparity: reproducing in a single go, then dying. A male antechinus will stay celibate for many of his year-long life—till his last month, when he stops producing sperm. And so, for the following two to 3 weeks, he’ll go on a testosterone-fuelled frenzy, mating with each feminine he can discover in periods that final the higher a part of a day. By the top, his fur will fall out, his immune system will implode, and his physique will turn into gangrenous. It’s not totally clear why the antechinus reproduces like this, however some biologists suppose the technique advanced to assist preserve sources.
For bees, intercourse is nothing wanting a ritualistic spectacle. A typical bee colony has a queen, hundreds of sterile feminine employee bees who preserve the pollination and honey operations operating, and a whole lot of male drones who haven’t any goal in life however to pursue their queen. And we imply actually pursue: the drones all chase the queen in flight, till each will get a flip to mount her. The method seems one thing like an meeting line. And as soon as a drone finishes, the tip of his penis explodes, he falls to the bottom, and slowly dies.
Though these Congolese primates’ repute for being nymphomaniacs is overstated, they do have lively, if not totally wholesome, intercourse lives. Dominant bonobo females are recognized to exert energy on their males, together with one occasion of ripping a part of a penis off. They’ve been noticed making an attempt out completely different intercourse positions, and females are recognized to swing between a number of mates. Bonobos are additionally recognized to rub their non-public components collectively—females have interaction in a kind of bonobo tribadism, and males even penis-fence one another. Primatologists suppose it’s a approach to let off steam earlier than or after fights.
Cetaceans are recognized for having attention-grabbing intercourse lives, and dolphins are maybe probably the most well-known amongst them. Dolphins copulate in a number of positions, usually spend numerous time on foreplay, and each men and women reguarly have interaction in same-sex acts. They’re recognized to rub their beaks or flippers towards one other dolphin’s genitals as a type of masturbation. There’s additionally been cases of dolphins being sexually interested in different animals—people included.
These egg-laying mammals have a novel pre-mating behavior. As much as a dozen males will queue up nose-to-tail all in pursuit of the identical feminine, every jockeying each for the feminine’s consideration and towards one another. It’s a sport that may final so long as a month. That’s to not point out the echidna male’s unusual four-headed penis. The males solely use two at one time, alternating them between makes use of. Scientists suppose this may increasingly assist echidna sperm fare higher.
However on the opposite finish of this sexual spectrum are the animals that received’t or can’t copulate. Some can reproduce with out intercourse, and a few can’t have it in any respect. Both means, listed below are 5 of them:
Big prickly stick bugs
These Australian arthropods can have intercourse, however in addition they have the selection to go with out it. Females of this species are able to parthenogenesis, typically also referred to as “virgin births,” the place a feminine can reproduce all by herself. These bugs’ eggs don’t should be fertilized by a male. There may be, nevertheless, a price: the kid is basically a clone of the mom. And since there’s no new genetic materials coming in, it’s potential that the virgin-born youngsters can get more and more inbred.
Some species of sharks may reproduce by means of parthenogenesis. We all know this as a result of we’ve seen sharks just do that in captivity. There have been cases of hammerhead sharks giving beginning when there have been completely no males round. Biologists suppose it’s one thing sharks can do when they should reproduce in a scenario the place there are not any males about. Different animals, like komodo dragons and domesticated turkeys, can do that too.
The place prickly stick bugs and sharks have a alternative, whiptail lizards use solely parthenogenesis. These green-spotted inhabitants of northern Mexico and the southwestern US are all feminine. They reproduce asexually: every lizard provides beginning to different feminine lizards, and so forth and so forth. Scientists suppose that whiptail lizards are capable of keep away from the inbreeding drawback by having an additional set of chromosomes, as if they’re already carrying the male’s genetic materials.
One other group of stick bugs that reside principally in California, these have advanced even farther to keep away from intercourse. A number of species of Timema reproduce asexually, and solely asexually. It’s not some kind of trendy change, both; they’ve been doing it for millennia. Actually, there’s proof that one species of Timema hasn’t had intercourse for 1.5 million years, not since Homo erectus walked the Earth.
These microscopic leech-like critters inhabit damp locations like freshwater ponds or moist soil. They’re additionally able to withstanding excessive radiation. And no bdelloid rotifer has had intercourse for 40 million years, lengthy sufficient to make even the hardiest ascetic jealous. Since one bdelloid rotifer can asexually reproduce and multiply to begin a whole inhabitants, biologists have speculated that they’re able to hitchhiking on human spacecraft and colonizing different planets.