Tired of chocolate, flowers, and the same old displays of affection that the commercial world’s been selling us for years? Maybe we could take a few cues for originality from nature?or perhaps not. This week, in honour of Valentine’s Day, we look at a few of the more unique (and downright bizarre) mating rituals from the animal kingdom.
Typically, cuttlefish courtship rituals involve a lot of fighting over which male will dominate and win the chance to mate with the female(s). But what happens to the smaller males?the ones who don’t stand a chance? They use brain over brawn, cleverly disguising themselves as another female and hiding among them in order to mate. The Discovery Channel has the story.
Humans might tone up at the gym in order to impress a possible love interest. Stalk-eyed bugs also change their bodies?literally. When the males emerge from the pupal stage, their eyes are quite close to their heads, but when the time comes to mate, the bugs will undergo a transformation during which the eye supports will lengthen, creating their distinct look. They’ll then approach the female, who will compare the eye stalk lengths of her male admirers, selecting the one with the longest eye stalks as a mate. The Discovery Channel’s Life series has a video of the amazing transformation.
It’s female fireflies that use signal flashes to attempt to attract the males?but their motives aren’t always on the up-and-up. That’s because the females of certain species of fireflies deliberately mimic the mating signals of other species in order to lure unsuspecting males?who become the female’s next meal. Heartless? Perhaps not; the blood of certain fireflies contains a toxin that other fireflies need in order to repel predators.
No male? No problem! One species of lizard is female-only. Scientists aren’t sure of the exact reproductive mechanism, but It’s believed that their asexual reproduction results in offspring that are direct genetic clones of the mother. This article and video from PBS explains some of the questions raised by this form of reproduction.