Friday, February 21, 2014

Sneaky f*ckers and gift-givers

In some species, only one male gets to mate with multiple females, and he is usually the biggest, strongest, or prettiest.

There ARE options for the less well-endowed guys, and one is being sneaky, as you can see in this highly irreverent and funny take on finding a mate if you are not the big, strong alpha dude. Sneakiness can include staying small, moving fast, and even cross-dressing, and "sneaker males," in a variety of species, do get some action.

Video is part of the Wild Sex series by EarthTouch

Give it up

Another way is by giving gifts. For example, male birds, like the hopeful and steadfast kingfisher in the BBC video included here, offer food to females to both woo them and maintain a bond they've already established.
spider sex, with a nuptial gift (white ball)
photo: Allan Lau

Male spiders that give females something delicious to eat are allowed to copulate for longer and can therefore provide more sperm, giving them a better chance of fertilizing eggs.

(Guys, you can take a cue from the spiders and wrap next year's Valentine's Day gift in silk).

Others give a food-like substance right before they try to mate, to occupy her attention while he makes his move. If legit, the gift might also help her provide for the young or demonstrate his virility; however, some "nuptial" gifts from male spiders are just leftovers or pieces of plants perfumed with pheromones and wrapped in silk.

serious gift-giving
image: Jeff Belmonte - Cuiabá, Brazil
I'm sure that to some ladies, this will sound all too familiar -- flowers and perfume are also nuptial gifts, presented to woo a woman, but the gift may be more show than sincerity.

A more serious guy may turn to more serious gifts, such as rings or a bride-price. Quite similar to the spider, the more serious a guy's gift, the more he shows he is fit to provide for her and (eventually), their children.

Note to snarky, sneaky male spiders: the female stores the sperm—which is also quite cool —for when she has eggs ready. She can control how much sperm she stores: at fertilization time, it might be yours, or it might not.


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