Tag Archives: romance

Rabbits and Hares

Given the size of this creature, one might ask exactly how it would be possible to get a wild hair up one's posterior. Given the state of today's economy, hoever, it is clear that many in the public eye suffer from just such an affliction.

Given the size of this creature, one might ask exactly how it would be possible to get a wild hare up one's posterior. Given the state of today's economy, however, it is clear that many in the public eye suffer from just such an affliction.

Rabbits and hares are among the most semantically complex of all mammals. Although the terms “rabbit” and “hare” are used interchangeably in colloquial speech, they are actually two distinct species, according to zoologists.  Both are shamelessly promiscuous, which explains the colorful colloquialism  “F***ing like bunnies.” The jury is out on whether the correct phrase is “having a wild hare” or “a wild hair”  up one’s a**, though both are sure to be wildly uncomfortable. Irish folklore associates hares with witchcraft, while English traditions focus on the propensity for mental pathologies during the mating season of family leporidae, hence the phrase “mad as a march hare.” 

Recently, however, some linguists have suggested that the phrase “mad as a march hare” did not enter common usage until the inception of a basketball tournament founded by Kansas coach Phog Allen in 1939. If this is true, then the phrase is likely a creative amalgam of  the mating/tournament season, and the fact that like wild hares in rut, basketball fans are  (often literally) “hopping mad” throughout the tournament season. Seriously. If you have never witnessed this phenomenon firsthand, I have the numbers of several basketballs fans who would be happy to demonstrate.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under backyard fauna, Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

ANGLERFISH:

This female may have been the nightmarish model for Mrs. Pac-man.

This female Anglerfish's tiny mate was once mistaken for a parasite; despite her pronounced lack of physical beauty, women around the world reportedly identify with the female Angler.

 Male Anglerfish (from the order Lophiformes)  are tiny, insignificant in appearance, and were, when scientests first began studying the Anglerfish, thought to be parasites attached to the much larger females (up to 20x larger than the males). When a male matures, his digestive tract dissolves,  and he loses the ability to digest food without a female’s assistance; he thenceforth needs a female to prepare his food and prevent his immanent death. He quickly seeks out a mate, sinks his teeth into her skin, and proceeds to literally digest her tissues and fuse himself to her until they are as one. This romantic process is called “marriage.”* The male then dissolves “into nothing more than a pair of gonads”  that deliver sperm when ovulation is indicated by hormonal cues  in the female’s bloodstream. Despite the  grotesque process, many females find marriage extremely convenient, wishing only that that their mates would also take out the trash. Males seem content with the total loss of identity, so long as they retain their gonads.**

 

** ibid.

Cf. http://webecoist.com/2008/08/24/strangest-endangered-species-and-animals/
      http://tolweb.org/Lophiiformes
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglerfish

Leave a comment

Filed under marine life, parasites, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

NARWHAL: ONE- HORNY WHALE

The Narwhal is subject to regulated subsistence hunting by Inuit people in Northern Canada and Greenland. Narwhals were once hunted by Vikings, who prized both the meat and horns; narwhals were thought to be related to unicorns, and to have magical powers-- their horns were thus worth more their weight in gold.

Narwhals were once hunted by Vikings, who prized both the meat and horns; in the medieval period, people thought narwhals to be related to unicorns, and to have magical powers-- Narwhal horns were thus worth more than their weight in gold. The Narwhal population is stable today.

 The exquisite narwhal (Monodon monoceros), is a medium-sized arctic whale; it’s common name is Old Norse for “Corpse whale,” perhaps named for it’s habit of swimming belly-up for short durations.  Charming.

This morbidly named whale’s most notable feature is it’s “horn,” actually a very long tooth seen only on males. In point of fcat narwhals only have two teeth, but to make up for this dearth of dentibus,  the left tooth grows in a spiral out of the mouth, reaching lengths as impressive as 7-10 feet. The function of this horn (and why it is only the left tooth) is the source  of much speculation; the dominant theory is an old one, first offered by Chuck Darwin himself, who hypothesizes that the horn is a secondary sex characteristic, like a peacock’s feather’s or a human male’s automobile, and is likewise used in mating and male-dominance rituals.

One can only assume that narwhals hear a lot of “are you just happy to see me” jokes. 

Cf. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/narwhal.html
      http://acsonline.org/factpack/Narwhal.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under marine life, the strange and the beautiful

(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.

Leave a comment

Filed under common household pets