Male canaries woo potential mates with song, and a new study shows that delivering testosterone to one part of the bird's brain increases the frequency with which the bird sings, but doesn't improve how well they sing. They can basically talk to women, but don't necessarily know what to say.
German scientists have been hard at work analyzing the genetic makeup of coelacanth offspring to learn more bout their mating patterns. What they found is that the coelacanth generally isn't into the multiple mating scene -- which is pretty unusual, as most fish species love to get all up in one another's gills. Get it? Gills? Aaaaah.
Generally speaking, toads and other amphibians are pretty peaceful. Except for Battletoads. They're brutal. When they do fight, it's pretty much just for show. That's what makes Emei mustache toads unique. They actually fight. That, and the fact that they have mustaches which are what they fight with. My mustache feels so useless right now.
I know the human dating game can seem rough at times, but the fact of the matter is, we have it pretty good. Don't believe me? Consider if you will the sorry state of Dolomedes tenebrosus, the dark fishing spider. A recent study of the spiders, common around the American midwest, found that males of the species get a grand total of one shot at breeding -- immediately after copulation, their work on this Earth done, the creatures promptly curl up and die.
A new study done by a team at the University of Alberta shows that the increased activity around beaver dams helps create conditions more favorable for Canada geese mating. Essentially, the busier beavers are, the busier geese get.
Since they spend their entire lives glued to one spot -- be it a rocky shore or the hull of your uncle's fishing boat -- barnacles have had to develop breeding techniques that let them get a little action without leaving the comfort of home. Those techniques, from the hermaphroditism that is common in most barnacle species to the enormous penises -- as long as four times the length of their own body -- boasted by the creatures have long fascinated researchers studying sex in the animal kingdom. One species of barnacle, though, has just been found to demonstrate a never-before-seen sexual behavior that will have biology students giggling into their textbooks for years to come. The practice, in which barnacles produce sperm and simply fling it into the water hoping for the best, is known as spermcasting, and if it's found to be widespread in other species, it could rewrite the book on barnacle sex.
We've brought you stories about some of the more interesting techniques animals will go to to improve, even slightly, their chances at breeding. Heck, you barely need us for that -- head down to your local watering hole any Friday night and you'll no doubt get to glimpse folks going to some lengths for the chance to land a mate, even (or especially) just for one evening. A study published online today in the journal Biology Letters suggests that we may have a winner in the "weird ways to get freaky" sweepstakes, though. Researchers studying the Atlantic molly, a small tropical fish related to the guppy, found that some smaller, less dominant examples of Atlantic molly manhood have developed a curious mating tactic -- to improve their chances of breeding with a female, they will first copulate with other males to demonstrate their sexual fitness.Read More
Marine whelk snails carry their young on their back, toting their eggs around for weeks after mating. The notion is not actually that uncommon under the seas -- male pipefish and seahorses are also known to take on surprisingly active paternal roles, like gestating their own young. However, a recent analysis of marine whelk eggs by researchers at UC Davis showed something surprising -- the whelks aren't just carrying their own kids on their back, but offspring from as many as 25 other males.Read More
Stefan Greif from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and team discovered that Natterer's bats listen for the sound of copulating flies to locate and eat them. Apparently, the bats can hear the buzzing noise emitted by male flies while mating, alerting them to the narrow window of opportunity to score a double meal.
We've posted some pretty strange moments from the natural world here on Geekosystem. While surprisingly fast hunter snails and giant mating spiders (sorry about that) are all well and good, they have nothing on mating leopard slugs. This video begins with a coy dance, turns a bit kinky when the pair suspends themselves upside down from a tree branch, and goes totally otherwordly once they get down to business. Oh, and it's narrated by Sir David Attenborough, which is pretty much the nature film version of Berry White.
Now admittedly, this is not the freshest video on the web, but given how truly amazing it is to watch, it's required viewing for the day.
What do do when you happen to have two of the largest spiders in the world just laying around? You try to make more of them, of course! At least that's what the San Diego Zoo is trying to do with their Goliath Bird Eating Spider, the spider so terrifying they put "bird eating" in its name.
Mating isn't easy for these spiders, though. For the males, the courtship dance is part of seduction and part insurance since it is not unusual for females to eat their mates. Fortunately, zoo officials remained on hand through the, uh, "encounter" to make sure no one got digested.
The zoo is hopeful that through mating experiments like these, they'll be able to keep a robust captive population of bird eaters and not take more out of the wild. Of course, there are other things you can do with extra goliath spiders.