Animal Whys

Sex in the Animal World

A small perch-like fish of central Europe lays its eggs and sperm in clams. The clams in turn, clamp onto passing fish and become worms under their skin. The male is not stimulated by the sight of the female; he produces sperm when he sees the clam.

Male anglerfish grab females shortly after they hatch and never let go. The skin of the growing female spreads over the male, her blood vessels connect with his, his mouth disappears, until he becomes a small sex appendage whose only function is to fertilize her eggs.

The male salamander keeps watch for a female taking a stroll, then he dashes in front of her and saunters along, dropping packets of sperm in her path. She either walks over them or picks them up and puts them in her cloaca.

Male garter snakes gently rub their chins along their females back.

Male Physalemus frogs in Central America have a dilemma. At mating time, they have to sing lustily to attract a mate. However, if they sing too loud, they attract the Trachops cirrhosus bat, which likes to eat them.

Male bees attract females by taking on the scent of orchids.

The baya bird of India adds lightning bugs to his nest, illuminating his home. The mating of alligators is a delicate operation. The female takes the initiative by nuzzling the male and climbing all over him. They stroke each other’s head, blow bubbles at each other, and cough politely. The act itself entails a lot of maneuvering, until the male is in position at right angles to the female alligator. They tend to look like mating Swiss Army knives.

The common male crab spider lassoes his mate, one foot at a time, until all eight legs are safely tied down. He then spins lines across her abdomen, back, and head before finally mating.

The male Nephila orb-weaving spider weighs a thousand times less that the female. He is so near to nonexistent, he can crawl all over her and leave sperm in her pocket without ever attracting her attention.

The male of some spiders courts the female by waving his conspicuously banded appendages. She is induced to go into a trance-like state during which he safely mates with her.

The male tarantula wanders in a near-blind state in search for a mate. If he bumps into a female, he beats her with his four front feet. When she rears to retaliate, he clutches her fangs with special claws, drums on her abdomen, and mates.

The male loligo, a kind of squid, mates with a blow to the chin.

Male narwhals may use their single “unicorn” tusk as a lance to duel over females.


“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

‘Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s level of aspiration…and expectation.”

“Grain by grain, a loaf; stone by stone, a palace.”

“If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.”