Love is in the air! Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and while humans will go out on dates to find their perfect partner, animals have other tactics. Reproduction is very important in the animal kingdom and finding a mate that’s healthy and will pass on good genes to their offspring is essential for biodiversity and the survival of said offspring.
Some animals may be really picky when it comes to finding a mate. Others won’t be as picky. It’s an important decision, but also one that comes with risk. Passing on one potential mate in the hopes of finding another may cause that animal to end up with no mate at all. Researchers have found that if the process of finding a mate doesn’t take a long time in the overall lifespan of an animal’s life, they can afford to be pickier.1
Males usually have the task of impressing females so they can be chosen as a mate. Usually, there aren’t as many females around, so there’s high competition.2
Here are some fascinating ways that animals will couple up:
- Bright colors & feathers – this is especially seen with birds. Peacocks will show off their long feathers and position themselves in the sun to best show their iridescence.2&3 Meanwhile, if the male has orange spots in a particular species of guppy, it means he’s really good at finding good food. So, females will be attracted to this.2
- Songs – also shown in bird species. This tends to indicate that the male is strong and healthy.2
- Dancing – Mantis shrimp will show off their antennae and dance for females to impress them.3
- Scent – Pheromones indicate the health of an animal as well as if they’re ready to mate. Lemurs will rub the scent on their tails.2 Male Darwin Sting Beetles will head toward the female’s scent to try and woo her.3
- Fighting – Male Darwin Sting Beetles will fight each other over a female.3 Reptiles will wrestle one another, while deer will fight with their antlers.2
It all comes down to proving they’re the best option to mate with and will produce healthy offspring that will have genes that will keep them alive in their environments.
Check out more information on your favorite animals on our blog.
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