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Posts Tagged "mating"

Extinction Countdown

Island Sanctuary Could Save Sex-Crazed Northern Quoll

northern quoll

Life is tough if you’re a northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus). These rare, cat-sized Australian marsupials don’t have very long life spans—especially males, which tend to die after their first mating experience when less than a year old. You see, all female quolls go into heat at the same time, and it drives the males a [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Plenty of Pheromones in the Sea

As we sat in my car outside a silent movie theater in Los Angeles, my friend anxiously opened a plastic bag containing a white T-shirt she’d slept in for the past three nights. “Does it smell like me?” she asked nervously, gesturing the open end toward my face. I stuck my nose into the bag [...]

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Not bad science

Why might a female zebra finch cheat on her partner?

Zebra finches are birds which, once they’ve found that special someone, will tend to stick with them. They are what is called ‘socially monogamous’, meaning they form pairs to mate and raise offspring over multiple breeding seasons, but with the occasional sneaky mating with the next door neighbour. Males court females by singing to them, [...]

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Observations

50 Shades of Sea Slug Sex: It’s Stranger Than You Think

sea slug sex traumatic mating female

Two-part barbed penises, a physical struggle and 20 minutes of penetration. That’s how some sea slugs do it. But the real shocker is that, for one species at least, those in the female role seem to engage in these bizarre, violent sexual encounters more often than might be biologically necessary. Nothing about sea-slug sex sounds [...]

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Observations

French Bug Plays 100-Decibel Mating Call on Genitalia

loudest bug recorded song mating call penis

Whales can boom their songs across thousands of kilometers of ocean, and elephants’ low-frequency calls can be heard by other pachyderms several kilometers away. But when body size is taken into consideration, these mammoth mammals produce but a relative whisper compared with other animals—especially one odd arthropod. The water boatman (Micronecta scholtzi), a 2.3-millimeter-long insect, [...]

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Observations

Bush-league male mates stress out female finches

male finches can stress out females if incompatible

Whether they are finding love in a flock or a lab, female Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae) know what they’re looking for: a fit male with head feathers that match their own. And the females that don’t end up with a desirable mate are slower to lay eggs and wind up more physiologically stressed, according to [...]

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Observations

Firefly mating could reveal clues about how the brain is wired

Firefly,bioluminescence,mating

For many, the warm glow of fireflies in the night air is a sure sign that summer has arrived. After dark, these bioluminescent beetles are generally visible only when they emit flashes of yellow, green or pale red from their lower abdomen as part of their mating ritual. Some species of firefly have found their [...]

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Observations

The grandmother factor: Why do only humans and whales live long past menopause?

killer whales live past menopause like humans do

Most mammals don’t live long past their reproductive years, failing to serve much evolutionary purpose after they can stop passing on their genes to offspring. Only three long-lived social mammalian species are known break that mold. Killer whales (Orcinus orca), pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and humans (as well as possibly some other great apes) all [...]

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Observations

The sex lives of wild crickets captured on video

cricket sex mating video reality tv behavior wild

As the seasons heat up annually, males and females start looking for mates, and two summers’ worth of steamy drama outside of a small European town have now been caught on tape. A big, strong male comes by to strut his stuff for a female, but she also seems interested in a smaller potential mate [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Female Octopus Strangles Mate, Then Eats Him

octopus

Octopuses do the darndest things. Like kill their mate during mating—by strangling him with three arms, according to new observations from the wild. Enterprising scientists Christine Huffard and Mike Bartick watched wild octopuses in action. They found that, for males, mating can be a dangerous game. Especially when your lady has long limbs. Some of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Mating Octopuses Prefer Crab Legs

octopus diet

Male octopuses don’t usually wine and dine prospective mates. But prior to mating, both males and females do seem to be in the mood for one date-worthy food: crab, according to new research published online in the Journal of Shellfish Research. Scientists studied two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculatus) in the Bay of Los Angeles in the [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Odd Male Octopus Flaunts 2 Unexpected Arm Phalluses

octopus arm phallus hectocotyli

Is that a case of bilateral hectocotylization, or are you just extra happy to see me? Or so might a female octopus say if she met the young subject of a new report about a certain biological oddity—or oddities. A rare juvenile octopus was captured off the coast of Alaska flaunting not one but two [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Deep-Sea Octopus Hatches Fully Formed, Walks Away [Video]

octopus walk egg hatchling

Most octopuses take the million-to-one-odds strategy when it comes to reproduction. They lay thousands—if not tens or hundreds of thousands—of tiny eggs. Out of these hatch bitty proto-octopuses, which drift around with other plankton and paralarvae, at the mercy of currents and anything hungrier and larger than they are (which can even include their siblings). [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Lady Octopus Attracts Mates with a Glowing Kisser

glowing mouth octopus

Many animals go to great lengths to attract a mate. This goal is especially challenging for a solitary animal, such as the octopus, living in the large, lonely ocean. Another major disadvantage: being a deep-sea octopod that lives in the dark, vast water column. But the females of Bolitaena pygmaea have a peculiar—and apparently effective—strategy: [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Argonaut Octopus Builds a “Shell” for Swimming [Video]

Argonaut octopus

The vast majority of octopus species live along the sea floor—whether that is in the sandy shallows off a tropical coast or in the dark depths around hydrothermal vents. But a handful of octopuses spend their lives swimming in the open seas, many using internal air-filled swim bladders to stay buoyant. But females of one [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: The See-Through “Glass” Octopus [Video]

glass octopus

Octopuses that live in the deep open ocean are difficult enough to find. But try locating a “glass” octopus, which is nearly transparent. Floating in the dim midwaters, this gelatinous octopod looks almost like a be-suckered jellyfish. Rather than camouflaging like most known octopus species, the Vitreledonella richardi has taken this alternative approach to hide [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Does the World’s Largest Octopus Only Have 7 Arms? [Video]

seven-armed octopus biggest octopus

Today we’re returning to the deep to meet an octopus that, at first glance, hardly seems to earn that eight-limbed designation. Its very name sounds like an oxymoron—or a cautionary tale from a fishing accident. But the seven-armed octopus (Haliphron atlanticus) is a real, bonafide octopod—if a little misleading in its appellation. This deep-ocean octopus [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: The Weapon-Wielding Blanket Octopus [Video]

blanket octopus

We continue our exploration of the many mysterious octopuses that live far from shore—and the eyes of humans. Today we meet the blanket octopus (Tremoctopus), a genus with four species that, until recently, had only been described based on female specimens. Why? Although they live in the vast open ocean, they are big (up to [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Get One Chance at Love [Video]

giant pacific octopus love date mating

The octopus is a solitary creature. Most known species of octopus avoid the company their own kind. And you might, too, if you knew your conspecific were capable of cannibalism. So in public aquariums, these animals are usually kept in separate tanks to keep them safe (and to avoid any unsightly encounters in front of [...]

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PsiVid

Science for Grown-ups in Chicago

Tiger love

I will be in Chicago this week attending science events aimed at grown-ups. If you don’t know the city, check out this tilt-shift video. Incredible! What started as a trip to view the work-in-progress film about cold fusion called “The Believers” (see my post), has become a bit of an adventure. I will briefly fill [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Red Pandas

red panda tree

Here’s one thing you already knew: red pandas are adorable. While they’re not domesticated and therefore are probably not suitable as pets, some people keep them as pets anyway – especially in Nepal and India – and upload their adorable hijinks to the internet for the world to see. Here are seven other facts about [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Wilder Side of Sex

Hippo mom and son. San Diego Zoo.

My latest piece for BBC Future is now up, and it focuses on how the things we may think of as odd, gross, or strange when it comes to human sexual practices are perhaps entirely normal for other species. Romantic relationships are complicated, and so is sex. Relationships can be fraught with the potential for [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Shouting for Sex: I’m Speaking on “Your Primal Instincts” at @MindshareLA Next Week

Mindshare LA Presents: “Your Primal Instincts” …on the West Side! I’ll be speaking at a special sciencey Valentine’s Day version of Mindshare this month in Santa Monica along with Christopher Ryan (of Sex at Dawn fame) and science journalist Sharon Brock. We’ll all be covering the science of love from our own perspectives, and my [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

A Fishy Beachfront Orgy: The Tweet That Became An Article

grunion-jason-1

Earlier this summer, evolutionary biologist, wildlife photographer, and (most importantly) my friend Neil Losin asked if I wanted to drive down to Long Beach with him to check out the grunion run, and try to get some decent photos of it. We went, and it was awesome, so I tweeted about it. You guys. You [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Porn for Pandas!

“The males often prefer eating to mating.” Apparently, giant panda dudes (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in captivity would rather sit around and munch on bamboo than get it on with the females. And this is a problem at the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre, where scientists are urging the pandas to breed, for conservation purposes. What’s [...]

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