3 Minute Read (Read more about why some animals mate themselves to death.) American eels can produce up to 30 million eggs at a time, but their sex lives are still a mystery, notes John Casselman, a professor at. The DA called the men's sexual abuse of 12 farm animals the worst case of animal abuse he's ever encountered. Snicker if you will, but sex presents special challenges for aquatic animals. After all, it's tough to stay on an inflatable raft, and that's not trying to.
Sex, we are told, is pleasurable. Yet you probably wouldn't think that if you waded through the scientific literature. That's because most scientific. Snood, 3. Wattle (dewlap), 4. Major caruncle, 5. Beard. During sexual behavior, these structures enlarge or become brightly colored. Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, including within the same species. There are many other species in the animal kingdom apart from our - PM UPDATED - PM What other animals in the animals kingdom have gender-bending traits, or engage in sexual.
There are many other species in the animal kingdom apart from our - PM UPDATED - PM What other animals in the animals kingdom have gender-bending traits, or engage in sexual. Snicker if you will, but sex presents special challenges for aquatic animals. After all, it's tough to stay on an inflatable raft, and that's not trying to. Sex, we are told, is pleasurable. Yet you probably wouldn't think that if you waded through the scientific literature. That's because most scientific.
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Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news. As with many questions about sex, this exposes some interesting facts about the way we discuss the subject.
On one level, the question of whether humans and nonhumans experience sex in the same way is fairly simply dismissed: how would we know? Sex as an experiential phenomenon for nonhumans is, quite simply, inaccessible. Having said that, we can make educated guesses animals whether sex is pleasurable for other species. The hypothesis that all sexually reproducing species experience sexual pleasure is, in itself, quite reasonable — as would be the hypothesis that animals find eating pleasurable.
This hypothesis about sex animals been tested. As a particularly intense form of sexual pleasure for many people, the sex has been that if non-humans experience orgasm, they are almost certainly experiencing pleasure.
Given that we sex most familiar with human orgasms, scientists sex unsurprisingly animals for behavioral and physical correlates of what we sometimes experience — shuddering, muscular rigidity, a cessation of movement, vocalization, changes of facial expression, ejaculation. None of these are guaranteed, and consequently we should not expect them necessarily to be associated with sex in other species. In fact, very esx primatologists doubt that non-human primates experience orgasm — at least, male non-human primates.
They focused sexual pleasure on orgasm by proposing a four-stage biomedical framework of excitement, plateau, orgasm sex resolution.
But while this may describe sex for many, it excludes an awful lot of people. Focusing sex on genitals and orgasm only makes sense if we assume that the central function of sex is reproduction — exactly the ani,als assumption that seems to lie behind scientific inquiries into sexual pleasure in other species.
New reproductive technologies have meanwhile separated sex and reproduction: it is not necessary for a people to have sex in order to conceive. The yoking of sex to reproduction to animals exclusion of pleasure can be traced to the Victorian era, and is the animaos of all sorts of exciting historico-political processes that would take a whole sex article to explain, but it seeped into all aspects of Western culture, including science.
The gamete exchange that is necessary for conception to occur is, in general, the animals of sex form of contact between bodies.
In fact, sex may well serve a sex of other functions. These functions may be sex important, especially for social animals, and would likely only be feasible if sex were in itself a source of pleasure. There is also no shortage of examples where animals sex has nothing to do with reproduction at all. Females of many species mate with males when they are non-fertile marmosets for example. This evidence alone should lead us to expect that many animals experience sexual pleasure in much the same way that humans do — that the pleasure involved sex sex leads many animals to seek it in non-reproductive contexts, and that this aspect of sexuality is not as unique as ankmals may like to think.
This insight is surely vital to understanding sex in other species, not to mention all other aspects of their behavior too. X Account Login Forgot your password? Register for an account X Enter your name and email address below. X Website access code Enter your access code into the form field below.
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The hypothesis that all sexually reproducing species experience sexual pleasure is, in itself, quite reasonable — as would be the hypothesis that animals find eating pleasurable. This hypothesis about sex has been tested. As a particularly intense form of sexual pleasure for many people, the logic has been that if non-humans experience orgasm, they are almost certainly experiencing pleasure.
Given that we are most familiar with human orgasms, scientists have unsurprisingly looked for behavioral and physical correlates of what we sometimes experience — shuddering, muscular rigidity, a cessation of movement, vocalization, changes of facial expression, ejaculation.
None of these are guaranteed, and consequently we should not expect them necessarily to be associated with sex in other species. In fact, very few primatologists doubt that non-human primates experience orgasm — at least, male non-human primates. They focused sexual pleasure on orgasm by proposing a four-stage biomedical framework of excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution.
But while this may describe sex for many, it excludes an awful lot of people. Focusing sex on genitals and orgasm only makes sense if we assume that the central function of sex is reproduction — exactly the same assumption that seems to lie behind scientific inquiries into sexual pleasure in other species.
New reproductive technologies have meanwhile separated sex and reproduction: it is not necessary for a people to have sex in order to conceive. The yoking of sex to reproduction to the exclusion of pleasure can be traced to the Victorian era, and is the consequence of all sorts of exciting historico-political processes that would take a whole separate article to explain, but it seeped into all aspects of Western culture, including science.
The gamete exchange that is necessary for conception to occur is, in general, the result of some form of contact between bodies. In fact, sex may well serve a number of other functions. These functions may be extremely important, especially for social animals, and would likely only be feasible if sex were in itself a source of pleasure.
There is also no shortage of examples where non-human sex has nothing to do with reproduction at all. Females of many species mate with males when they are non-fertile marmosets for example. Copulation is the union of the male and female sex organs , the innate sexual activity specifically organized to transmit male sperm into the body of the female. In non-primate mammals for example, rodents , canines , felines , bovines , and equines , the anatomy of the reproductive organs and some circuits of the nervous system are specifically organized for heterosexual copulation.
Alternative male strategies which allow small males to engage in cuckoldry can develop in species such as fish where spawning is dominated by large and aggressive males. Cuckoldry is a variant of polyandry , and can occur with sneak spawners. A sneak spawner is a male that rushes in to join the spawning rush of a spawning pair. In salmon and trout, for example, jack males are common.
These are small silvery males that migrate upstream along with the standard, large, hook-nosed males and that spawn by sneaking into redds to release sperm simultaneously with a mated pair. This behaviour is an evolutionarily stable strategy for reproduction, because it is favoured by natural selection just like the "standard" strategy of large males.
Hermaphroditism occurs when a given individual in a species possesses both male and female reproductive organs, or can alternate between possessing first one, and then the other. Hermaphroditism is common in invertebrates but rare in vertebrates. It can be contrasted with gonochorism , where each individual in a species is either male or female, and remains that way throughout their lives.
Most fish are gonochorists, but hermaphroditism is known to occur in 14 families of teleost fishes. Usually hermaphrodites are sequential , meaning they can switch sex , usually from female to male protogyny. This can happen if a dominant male is removed from a group of females. The largest female in the harem can switch sex over a few days and replace the dominant male. It is less common for a male to switch to a female protandry.
Wrasses exhibit three different mating systems: polygynous, lek-like , and promiscuous mating systems. Sexual cannibalism is a behaviour in which a female animal kills and consumes the male before, during, or after copulation.
Sexual cannibalism confers fitness advantages to both the male and female. Sex in a forceful or apparently coercive context has been documented in a variety of species. In some herbivorous herd species, or species where males and females are very different in size, the male dominates sexually by force and size. Some species of birds have been observed combining sexual intercourse with apparent violent assault; these include ducks ,   and geese.
When females emerge from their nest burrows, males sometimes force them to the ground and mate with them. Such forced copulations are made preferentially on females who are laying and who may therefore lay eggs fertilized by the male. It has been reported that young male elephants in South Africa sexually coerced and killed rhinoceroses.
Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilisation. Whip-tailed lizard females have the ability to reproduce through parthenogenesis and as such males are rare and sexual breeding non-standard. Females engage in "pseudocopulation"  to stimulate ovulation , with their behaviour following their hormonal cycles; during low levels of oestrogen, these female lizards engage in "masculine" sexual roles.
Those animals with currently high oestrogen levels assume "feminine" sexual roles. Lizards that perform the courtship ritual have greater fecundity than those kept in isolation due to an increase in hormones triggered by the sexual behaviours. So, even though asexual whiptail lizards populations lack males, sexual stimuli still increase reproductive success.
It is rare to find true parthenogenesis in fishes, where females produce female offspring with no input from males. All-female species include the Texas silverside , Menidia clarkhubbsi  as well as a complex of Mexican mollies. Parthenogenesis has been recorded in 70 vertebrate species  including hammerhead sharks ,  blacktip sharks ,  amphibians   and crayfish. Unisexuality occurs when a species is all-male or all-female.
Unisexuality occurs in some fish species, and can take complex forms. Squalius alburnoides , a minnow found in several river basins in Portugal and Spain, appears to be an all-male species. The existence of this species illustrates the potential complexity of mating systems in fish. The species originated as a hybrid between two species, and is diploid , but not hermaphroditic.
It can have triploid and tetraploid forms, including all-female forms that reproduce mainly through hybridogenesis. There is a range of behaviours that animals perform which appear to be sexually motivated but which can not result in reproduction. These include:. Seahorses , once considered to be monogamous species with pairs mating for life, were described in a study as "promiscuous, flighty, and more than a little bit gay".
Flirting was common up to 25 potential partners a day of both sexes ; only one species the British spiny seahorse included faithful representatives, and for these 5 of 17 were faithful, 12 were not. Bisexual behaviour was widespread and considered "both a great surprise and a shock", with big-bellied seahorses of both sexes not showing partner preference.
The bonobo is a fully bisexual species. Similar same-sex sexual behaviours occur in both male and female macaques. Females are also thought to participate for pleasure as VPA vulvar, perineal, and anal stimulation is part of these interactions.
The stimulation can come from their own tails, mounting their partner, thrusting, contact between both VPAs, or a combination of these.
Male bottlenose dolphins have been observed working in pairs to follow or restrict the movement of a female for weeks at a time, waiting for her to become sexually receptive. The same pairs have also been observed engaging in intense sexual play with each other. Janet Mann, a professor of biology and psychology at Georgetown University, argues  that the common same-sex behaviour among male dolphin calves is about bond formation and benefits the species evolutionarily. They cite studies that have shown the dolphins later in life are bisexual and the male bonds forged from homosexuality work for protection as well as locating females with which to reproduce.
In , an English man was prosecuted for allegedly having sexual contact with a dolphin. The female spotted hyena has a unique urinary-genital system , closely resembling the penis of the male, called a pseudo-penis.
Dominance relationships with strong sexual elements are routinely observed between related females. They are notable for using visible sexual arousal as a sign of submission but not dominance in males as well as females females have a sizable erectile clitoris. Mammals mate by vaginal copulation. To achieve this, the male usually mounts the female from behind.
During mating, a "copulatory tie" occurs in mammals such as fossas ,  canids  and Japanese martens. The copulatory behavior of many mammalian species is affected by sperm competition. Some females have concealed fertility, making it difficult for males to evaluate if a female is fertile. This is costly as ejaculation expends much energy. Invertebrates are often hermaphrodites. Some hermaphroditic land snails begin mating with an elaborate tactile courting ritual. The two snails circle around each other for up to six hours, touching with their tentacles, and biting lips and the area of the genital pore, which shows some preliminary signs of the eversion of the penis.
As the snails approach mating, hydraulic pressure builds up in the blood sinus surrounding an organ housing a sharpened dart. The dart is made of calcium carbonate or chitin , and is called a love dart. Each snail manoeuvres to get its genital pore in the best position, close to the other snail's body. Then, when the body of one snail touches the other snail's genital pore, it triggers the firing of the love dart.
The love darts are covered with a mucus that contains a hormone -like substance that facilitates the survival of the sperm. Penis fencing is a mating behaviour engaged in by certain species of flatworm , such as Pseudobiceros bedfordi.
Species which engage in the practice are hermaphroditic, possessing both eggs and sperm-producing testes. One organism inseminates the other. The sperm is absorbed through pores in the skin, causing fertilisation. Corals can be both gonochoristic unisexual and hermaphroditic , each of which can reproduce sexually and asexually. Reproduction also allows corals to settle new areas. Corals predominantly reproduce sexually.
The gametes fuse during fertilisation to form a microscopic larva called a planula , typically pink and elliptical in shape. This synchrony is essential so that male and female gametes can meet. Corals must rely on environmental cues, varying from species to species, to determine the proper time to release gametes into the water. The cues involve lunar changes, sunset time, and possibly chemical signalling. Butterflies spend much time searching for mates.
When the male spots a mate, he will fly closer and release pheromones. He then performs a special courtship dance to attract the female. If the female appreciates the dancing she may join him. Then they join their bodies together end to end at their abdomens. Here, the male passes the sperm to the female's egg-laying tube, which will soon be fertilised by the sperm.
Many animals make plugs of mucus to seal the female's orifice after mating. Normally such plugs are secreted by the male, to block subsequent partners. In spiders the female can assist the process. They use these to pick their sperm up from their genitals and insert it into the female's sexual orifice, rather than copulating directly. On ten of these occasions the male's pedipalps then seemed to get stuck while he was transferring the sperm which is rarely the case in other species of spider , and he had great difficulty freeing himself.
In two of those ten instances, he was eaten as a result. Research into human evolution confirms that, in some cases, interspecies sexual activity may have been responsible for the evolution of new species speciation. Analysis of animal genes found evidence that after humans had diverged from other apes , interspecies mating nonetheless occurred regularly enough to change certain genes in the new gene pool.
One possible explanation is that modern humans emerged from a hybrid of human and chimp populations. When close relatives mate, progeny may exhibit the detrimental effects of inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression is predominantly caused by the homozygous expression of recessive deleterious alleles.
Several examples of animal behaviour that reduce mating of close relatives and inbreeding depression are described next. Reproductively active female naked mole-rats tend to associate with unfamiliar males usually non-kin , whereas reproductively inactive females do not discriminate. When mice inbreed with close relatives in their natural habitat, there is a significant detrimental effect on progeny survival.
Thus there are fewer matings between mice sharing MUP haplotypes than would be expected if there were random mating. Meerkat females appear to be able to discriminate the odour of their kin from the odour of their non-kin. When mating does occur between meerkat relatives, it often results in inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression was evident for a variety of traits: pup mass at emergence from the natal burrow, hind-foot length, growth until independence and juvenile survival. The grey-sided vole Myodes rufocanus exhibits male-biased dispersal as a means of avoiding incestuous matings.
In natural populations of the bird Parus major great tit , inbreeding is likely avoided by dispersal of individuals from their birthplace, which reduces the chance of mating with a close relative. Toads display breeding site fidelity , as do many amphibians.
Individuals that return to natal ponds to breed will likely encounter siblings as potential mates. Although incest is possible, Bufo americanus siblings rarely mate. These toads likely recognise and actively avoid close kins as mates. Advertisement vocalisations by males appear to serve as cues by which females recognise their kin. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sexual behavior of non-human animals. This article is about the sexual behavior of non-human animals.
For human sexual behavior, see Human sexual activity and Human sexuality. For other uses, see Animal sex disambiguation. Main article: Monogamous pairing in animals. See also: Evolution of monogamy. Main article: Polygyny in animals. Main article: Polyandry in nature. Main article: Polygynandry. Main article: Bateman's principle.
Main article: Seasonal breeder. Main article: Koinophilia. Main article: Copulation zoology. See also: Cuckoldry in fish. See also: Sequential hermaphroditism.
Main article: Sexual cannibalism. Play media. Main article: Sexual coercion. Main article: Non-reproductive sexual behaviour in animals. See also: Mating call. Further information: Mammalian reproduction and Social monogamy in mammalian species.
See also: Mating of gastropods. Main article: Humanzee. Main article: Inbreeding avoidance. Animals portal. Advanced biology. Oxford University Press. General Studies Manual. Pearson Education India. Behavioural ecology of teleost fishes. Retrieved 26 August National Science Foundation. Animal Behaviour. Max Planck Research. Archived from the original PDF on 14 May Retrieved 24 April Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics.
Black Ed. Canadian Journal of Zoology. Monogamy: Past and present. Reichard and C. Boesch Eds. The Myth of Monogamy. These eels can take up to 20 years to mature, upon which they'll swim toward the Sargasso Sea. Though scientists haven't observed spawning, which they're thought to do at great depths, they have recorded pulses of eel larvae coming from that direction. The American eel is endangered due to multiple factors including overfishing and habitat obstruction from dams, so we may never know their mating secrets.
This pair of praying mantids will die soon after reproducing. Occasionally, the female will cannibalize the male by biting off his head. Female spiders often get a bad rap as femme fatales that eat their mates, but mother Stegodyphus lineatus spiders die for their young.
Male orb weavers of the Argiope genus die upon inserting that second pedipalp. Have a question about the weird and wild world? Tweet me , leave me a note in the comments, or find me on Facebook.
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