Tag Archives: honeymoon

No, It’s not a Typo; It’s the “Cock” of Dawn.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have  Chinese folklore to thank for next entry: the celestial cock, aka the “cock of dawn.”

<< The author respects all cultures and will not resort to infantile murrmerings about the word “cock”. But, dear readers, it’s gonna be difficult.>>

The Cock of Dawn, or so it is said, is a “magnificent golden three-legged cock” <<ahem>>.  According to myth,  he lives in the mile-high Fu-Sang tree in the Land of Sunrise.  It is believed that he is the ancestor of all worldly cocks <<ah-ahem>>, that he crows exactly three times a day (to mark the sunrise, zenith, and sunset) and that his red comb signifies the sunrise.

According to a legend  describing the conjunction of yin and yang, the God of the immortals (Tung-hua Ti-chun) gave this bird to a lucky fellow named Shen-i, who rode the back of the celestial cock <<oh, come now, we are all mature adults here, lets be serious>> to the heat of the midday sun, where, it is said, he attained perfect happiness.  Just him and his golden three-legged cock. (Until he set up regular visits with his wife, who was living over on the moon at the time.)

…In all seriousness,  dear readers, it is a lovely story and we should not be swayed from its import by our puritanical, repressed, juvenile obsession with naughty bits. And yet… one cannot help but wonder whether, on the occasional lonely night on the moon, Shen-i’s wife didn’t long for a little celestial cock of her own.

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Hercules Beetle: natural prey of the Stymphalian birds?*

behold the strongest insect on earth

behold the strongest insect on earth (and in the background, the much smaller flower beetle).

 The Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules) is perhaps the most immediately recognizable of the rhinoceros beetles; it’s propensity for epic battles and family tragedies in the Grecian vein, though less well known, is among the beetle’s most prominent characteristics. 

Male beetles, for instance,  often use their prominent horns to fight for the right to mate with a comely female. The outcomes of these battles are determined by the whims of the gods, and may inflict devastating psychosocial effects which can fatally disrupt the entire Dynastes  family.

The winner and his prize may then engage in extended bouts of celebratory lovemaking; amorous sessions between Hercules beetles can last for 50 minutes-considerably longer than the average human encounter, which clocks in at a whopping… two minutes.

Epic, indeed.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Emu: summer lovin’ happens so fast

this emu is already looking for another mate

this emu is already looking for another mate

 Any number of men with whom the author of BV is aquainted might feel a twinge of envy when they learn of the prodigious attributes of the male Dromaius novaehollandiae; during breeding season, males experience an increase in luteinizing hormone and testosterone. The result? Their testicles double in size, and the birds switch from boxers to briefs.

But in one of mother nature’s canny twists, it is the males who are  saddled with the biological clock. At first, the trade-off might not seem so bad:  the pair mates every day, and the female is still responsible for laying the very large, thick-shelled, dark-green eggs.  

Yet the tide soon turns: the male, brain addled by regular sex with a willing mate,  turns broody after his mate starts laying, loses his apetite, and settles in to incubate the eggs before the laying period is even finished. From the moment he first settles down on those eggs, he will not eat, drink or shit for eight weeks while the eggs incubate.  He loses weight, surviving on stored body-fat and any stray drops of morning dew that he can reach from the nest.

This is because infidelity is widespread amongst  emu, and once the male starts brooding, the female  starts looking for greener pastures, refusing  to bring her erstwhile schmoopy  a beer, make him a sandwich, or tend to his swollen testicles, preferring to sow her wild oats with other, more mobile males. 

To be fair, some females stand by their man, defending  the nest until the chicks start to hatch, but most of the shameless hussies leave to nest again;  for  a female Emu, a good summer fling may mean multiple nests with multiple mates.

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Gouldian Finches: female finches practice sex bias

female finches exhibit classic signs of "pussy control" (see link, below)

female finches exhibit classic signs of "pussy control"

Ever wished for a more palpable measure of a date’s long-term potential? Some visible sign telling you whether he will leave the toilet seat up? Gouldian finches can’t commiserate: females can judge a male  just by looking at his head.  

A new study in the journal Science has found that females produce more healthy offspring when they  mate with males of similar coloring to their own, and that as a result, females demonstrate pronounced sex bias towards compatibly feathered studs.

In a strange twist, moreover, female finches have the ability to control  the sex of their offspring, and when the female finche mates with a male of a different head colour, they tend to produce more male offspring.  According to Sarah Prkye, lead scientist on this study, males are preferred in this circumstance because male birds are more likely to survive incompatible  parents than are females.   The mechanism of this control is not known.

“It is pretty amazing,” says the unfortunately named director of this sex study,  “to think that the female herself has so much control – subconsciously of course – over this basic physiology.”  The author of BV submits that Dr. Pryke is perhaps a tad naive: these birds are not acting on subconscious instinct: they are simply living by the motto that  if brother didn’t have good ‘n’ plenty of his own, in love [they] never [will] fall.  

This conclusion is borne out by Pryke’s own admission that

“Females really don’t want to mate with a male with a different head colour” but because “there simply aren’t enough compatible males,”  the unmatched females eventually  “use this control to make the best of a bad situation.”

We feel ya, sisters.

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7953467.stm

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Lobster

 

"See... he's your Lobster!"

"He's her Lobster!!!"

 

I’d like to take a break from my organized, logical pursuit of truth in the animal kingdom to talk about something decidedly disorganized and illogical: Marriage. There can be no more appropriate object for today’s topic than Lobsters, which comprise family Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae, and are indisputably the most devoted lovers amongst marine crustaceans; “It’s a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life…You can actually see old lobster couples [walking] around their tank… holding claws.” Today is a day for celebrating  two lobsters who have decided to make it official:

to EW and PP, whom I love like family, felicitations on finding, keeping, and cherishing your lobster. I have no doubt that I will see you when you are old and spiny, still holding claws as you walk around your tank.

Much Love,

~sj

 

Cf. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyvRjF0NBeM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQQ8kXfn9Iw&feature=related

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Bird of Paradise (Paradisaeidae)

The male bird of paradise; a spectacular display of brightly colored plumage belies his deeply ingrained inferiority complex

The male bird of paradise will take any opportunity to display his goods

 Birds of Paradise, of the order Passeriformes, are known for dazzling plumage and elaborate courtship dances. Some of the males seem more interested in dancing for one another than for a female; these birds  have long been stereotyped by the media as anal-retentive, broadway loving, promiscuous narcissists, though evidence for such generalizations is anecdotal at best.*  There is, however, ample evidence that they are indeed better dancers than most dull-feathered females.  Unfortunatley, video evidence in figures A and B, below, also demonstrates that  like many  humans, this male bird has overestimated the appeal of the scary-face dance

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_McFarland

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(In honor of Valentines day) The Lovebird: member of genus agapornis.

Lovebirds, while highly social when unbonded, often lose interest in socializing when paired.This in human lovebirds, the initial "honeymoon phase" typically dissipates over time.

Lovebirds, while highly social when unbonded, often lose interest in socializing when paired.This in human lovebirds, the initial "honeymoon phase" typically dissipates over time.

There are nine known species of lovebirds in genus agapornis,  all of which are highly social and known for deeply affectionate monogamous pair bonding, from whence their English name derives. Similar German and French versions are die Unzertrennlichen and  les inséparables. The avian species have a corollary in homo sapiens; however,  many individuals of the human variety tend to be less spontaneously affectionate than do their avian counterparts, and often search out other sources for agapornis. This extra-monogamous behavior is particularly observable in, though not restricted to, males. Mid-February  seems to signal lovebirds to begin elaborate courtship displays: they gather shiny objects and sweets, in order to demonstrate the strength of their pair bonds.  Single lovebirds will tend to stay in their nests, or make elaborate displays of disinterest in the courtship rituals around them.

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