Tag Archives: marriage

Tungara frog: foamy little freaks

It is a biological truth that in most cases of human canoodling some modest amount of various and sundry bodily fluids are produced. (Indeed, many female humans in the author’s aquaintence have had occasion to note that some male specimen seem to produce excessive saliva when mating rituals such as “necking” are undertaken. What is with that, anyway?)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, imagine your horror should you find that your mate had the habits of Engystomops pustulosus (formerly known as Physalaemus pustulosus.) When mating, the eager male frog positions himself atop the female and starts to pulse rhythmically (not to say monotonously, though some lady frogs might complain on that account). As a result, the female  releases a foam producing solvent which the male’s gyrations froths up into a giant, floating foam nest that protects the fertilized eggs “from dehydration, sunlight, temperature, and potential pathogens until the tadpoles hatch.”

Very creative. And very… well, unsavory, frankly. But if one is a Tungara frog, one might find such foamy emmissions quite provocative.  And the author suspects that should she look hard enough, she would find internet porn for that.

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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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Chimpanzees: Will F*%@ for Meat

Chimps- mother nature's "working girls"

Chimps- mother nature's "working girls"

The BBC reported yesterday that a strange new facet of primate behavior has been documented amongst chimpanzees living in the Tai forest reserve, in Ivory Coast: the females will get down more often with males who share their grub.  Cristina Gomes, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, reports that this is a win-win proposition for the primates. “By sharing,” she claims,  “the males increase the number of times they mate, and the females increase their intake of calories.”  The author of BV is unsurprised that the “meat for sex hypothesis” (its real name) has been confirmed: the chimps’ priorities seem familiar enough from the human dating world, though *some* human females prefer shiny baubles to hanks of raw meat.

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pink amblycorypha katydid

 

This Pink amblycorypha katydid gave his bride a gift, but she wishes he katy-didn't

This Pink amblycorypha katy-did give his bride a gift, but she wishes he katy-didn't

It has been brought to the author’s attention that the Pink Dragon Millipede is not the sole pink specimen  in the insect world; the pink amblycorypha katydid is equally pink, and no less charming at cocktail parties. In accordance with this discovery, the author would like to introduce a short run of “pretty in pink,” a series on roseate  members of the animal world. Whether their behaviors are as rosy as their hues remains to be seen.

The second member in our series (following the Dragon Millipede, naturally) is, as noted above, the pink amblycorypha katydid, a romantic soul and a genetic anomaly belonging to the species western round-winged katydid (Amblycorypha parvipennis). Like other katydids, this specimen  (should it prove to be a hetero male secure enough in his masculinity to wear pink)  will provide a “nuptial gift” of a  spermatophore, a nutritious little ball of ejaculate, to his loving bride.

What the author of  BV would like to know is: will that little love-token be equally pink, and mightn’t the female katydid prefer something by way of a box of chocolates?

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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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