Weird animal sex

This video is called David Attenborough – Animal behaviour of the bowerbird – BBC wildlife.

From Cosmos Magazine in Australia:

Eight weird instances of animal sex

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

by Cat O’Donovan

SYDNEY: The animal world is full of strange diets, peculiar social structures and, of course, weird mating behaviours. From courting to intercourse, animal reproduction involves dramas that make the love lives of daytime soap operas seem tame.


British TV naturalist David Attenborough described bowerbirds of Papua New Guinea as having “a passion for interior decoration”. To impress the ladies, a male constructs his bower, or courtship arena, out of twigs and decorates it with colourful objects such as feathers, beetle wing cases, flowers and chewed up vegetation. If the female is suitably impressed by his decorating skills – and his courtship dance out front – she takes up residence in the bower and mates with him.


The bright red velvet mite (Trombidium holosericeum) is a teeny gardener. Males deposit sperm in small mounds on sticks and twigs, then carefully construct an intricate silken trail to it. When a female stumbles across an impressive ‘garden’ of silk, she follows the trail and if she approves, she’ll sit on the sperm and fertilise her eggs. But watch out! If a rival male strolls past a garden, he’ll rip it up. All’s fair in love and gardening.


You’ve heard of birds dancing and singing to attract a mate, but what about spiders? When a male jumping spider (Habronattus dossenus) sees a potential mate, he pulls out his best moves, and provides the music too. A U.S. study used a laser vibrometer to record a male spider’s rhythmic repertoire. The spider moved his abdomen to create ‘thumps’, ‘scrapes’ and ‘buzzes’ in time to his crazy foreleg-waving dance. He’s bad.


Several species of parrot, including pet budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), regurgitate food as part of a courtship ritual. Unlike humans, it’s not because they’re nervous or have had too much to drink: it’s a sign of male quality! If he vomits up a large heap, it suggests he’s fit, healthy and a good provider for a family. The more he chucks up, the more likely he is to get lucky. Not so likely to impress human females, though.


Sex can be strenuous, especially for haermaphroditic flatworms, such as Pseudoceros bifurcus. During sex, the flatworms use their penises as weapons in a battle to inseminate each other. When one stabs the other, it injects sperm into the body cavity and – hey presto! – the winner becomes the de facto male. The loser has to invest time and energy developing the eggs, whilst the winner can move on to their next sex battle immediately.


A team of researchers at the University of California, in Berkeley, tracked a pygmy species of octopus called Abdopus aculeatus during mating season. Not only did each male octopus court and guard his selected female (they preferred the larger ladies that could produce more eggs), he also fought off rival males that came too close. To mate, the male extends a modified arm to the female, and uses it to to pass sperm packets to her. It almost looks like they’re holding hands.


Marsupials split from placental mammals over 100 million years ago. So while they share a lot of mammalian characteristics like fur and breast feeding, there are some notable differences. One is in their genitals. Male opossums, for example, have a bifurcated penis, meaning it has two ends. Why? To go in the female’s two vaginas of course! Both are fully functional, with fertilisation possible through both. During birth, the vaginas join to form one larger birth canal.


In these species, fertilisation depends on oral sex. Cichlid fish are found in the Rift Valley lakes of Africa, such as Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi. They carry their eggs or young in their mouths to protect them until they are big enough to fend for themselves. To achieve fertilisation by stealth, the male of some species has egg-shaped spots on his anal fin. When a female approaches and attempts to gather up the ‘eggs’, the male ejaculates and the female gets a mouthful of sperm to fertilise her eggs.

Meet Eight Species That Are Bending the Rules of Reproduction. Spice up your mating life with relationship tips from rock lizards, sharks and water fleas: here.

The sexual battles of flatworms: barbed sperm, mating rings, traumatic insemination, and going down on yourself: here.

Flatworm sperm changes its design when the worm’s mating behavior changes, according to a study of 16 species of flatworm: here.

2 thoughts on “Weird animal sex

  1. Pingback: Australian bowerbirds grow flowers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Animals’ Valentine’s Day | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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