Sunday, May 7, 2017

Faking It: Dragonfly Females Play Dead to Avoid Males

What’s the most drastic thing you’ve ever done to get rid of a guy?

Whatever it was, female dragonflies have done something more dramatic: they play dead to ditch unwanted males. 

Blue dasher from Arizona Dragonflies

 Rassim Khelifa, a doctoral student at the University of Zurich. Khelifa was studying the effect of climate change on dragonfly eggs and while out collecting some he noticed this behavior in the females. When harassed by sexual advances, typically on their way to an egg-laying site, 27 in 35 females pretended to drop dead, landing in leaf litter where their still bodies went undetected by the male who depends on movement and color to see his would-be conquests, reports Richa Malhotra on Live Science

If faking death to get out of a sexual encounter seems over the top, consider that male dragonflies have spoon-shaped penises, spenises. They're barbed to help anchor them to the female and the spoon shape is handy for scooping out previously-deposited sperm so their DNA will get passed down instead since the last one in this particular pool wins. No wonder these males keep trying and the women keep "dying."

And the act works.. Of the 27 females that feigned death rather than copulate with another male, 21 succeeded in duping the drip, so roughly 3/4s of dragonfly females are better actresses than Kristen Stewart or Andie McDowell. 

But they'll never get so much as a swag bag for it, just some peace, which is sometimes all a girl needs. 

Yours truly lecturing an outsized male. "If you were carrying around hundreds of eggs would you want some pervert pokin' at ya with his little spoon-penis? His speenis? I didn't think so.   

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Natural Seduction Speaks at Mensa

Had a wonderful time speaking to at Central Florida Mensa Society's annual meeting in January about sex in the animal world. As if to prove their genius, they had a chocolate dessert and a martini tasting directly afterwards. Smart is soooooo sexy!

Explaining the ostentatiously weird echidna penis. And also what echidnas are (one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world along with the platypus and supercute!)

Pointing to the oar-like arms of the tiny insect, the water boatman, but its the animal's singing penis that is it's showpiece. It begs the question "If you were a penis, what would you sing?"

Explaining why the human penis is shaped like it is (which you can read about in   a fantastic book by Jesse Bering) Didn't want to use a boring ol' photo (not that I haven't got some - thank you online dating!) but poorly thought-out weather maps and puppies are more fun imagery.

Thank you, Tristan, for taking pics and thank you Mensa for being brilliantly fun!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Love Me Tinder: Orangutans to Seek Love Via iPads

If you've ever tried online dating you now have something in common with a Dutch organutan besides 97% of your DNA. 

The Guardian's Jon Henley reports that Apenheul Primate Park in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands is showing Samboja, its 11 year-old female orangutan. photos of potential suitors from around the world. It’s partly a bid to get a better idea of how orangutans choose their mates but also, flying orangutans around from zoo to zoo for dates isn’t cheap and it seems they’re hoping if she likes the photo she’ll like the fellow. 

The bigger picture is that this orangu-tinder is part of a larger issue of understanding the emotional relationships. Pretty awesome since for a long time no one wanted to admit they might have any. 

The Washington Post's Amy B Wang reported that a zoo in Germany did a similar online dating experiment last year though the “date” didn’t result in any offspring.

They should have tried the human online dating formula: wine and carelessness.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Amazon Primal: Weird Ways Sperm Gets Delivered

"If humans had babies like marsupials do, tiny and kept in a pouch, I'd have had ten kids," I heard myself saying during a speech the other day. It's not really true - one gets carried away with a good audience. But alternative delivery methods are always a good thing to have.  Improving ways to get stuff where it needs to go is why the world loves Amazon and and hates air travel.

The human way of delivering sperm has been fine with us so far but the animal world has come up with some crazily inventive ways getting the little swimmers to the beach. Through the tops of their heads, via gift bundle (like this squid) and even literally falling apart to make this delivery. Now that's a work ethic.

And here's 5 Gross and Amazing Ways Animals Delivery Sperm on NatGeo. Hope those ladies tip. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome to Natural Seduction. Flirty. Dirty. Nerdy.

Ever since the Kama Sutra came out humans have thought they were sex geniuses . Spicy. Inventive. Kinky.


Sure, we're pretty awesome, plus it depends on the humans in question ( when it comes to sex you often get out what you put in, so to speak) but when it comes to off-the-charts sexual creativity the non-human world is a bottomless grab bag of method, madness and mating, but one that works.

From sexual cannibalism to detachable penises to orgies on the beach, animals are pretty freaky. Still, even their oddest exploits can make us perspective on our own sex lives and cultural issues. Some of their sexual skills we'll never be able to do in a million years, some we do with surprising similarity.

Animals bridge us to our nature and connect us to a natural world we have left behind in so many ways and for which we are terribly homesick. Our hope with this blog is to facilitate conversation and possibly conservation but mostly have a lot of fun.

Besides, who doesn’t like to gossip about the other species?