The World of Animal Mating
Is as Varied as Ecosystems with Costa Rica Animals
Even if your idea of vacation is to spend a week poolside at a luxury travel resort near a tropical beach, you might be interested to know what’s going on all around you
One of the great things about Costa Rica is that visitors can combine the pleasures of luxury travel with the most arcane interests, including, for example, the fascinating world of animal mating. Costa Rica, with its incredible range of insects, reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals, and waterborne life, is a teeming exhibit of the varieties of animal mating—or love, if you will. While most visitors don’t catch native species in the act, it’s interesting to learn a bit about what the act entails. So, whether your are pursuing luxury travel in Nosara Costa Rica or Quepos Costa Rica, listen up!
When thinking about flies, a few choice words come to mind, “pesky” and “annoying” among them. But maybe you should also think “animal mating” – for those little dervishes can also be elegant and creative suitors. Yes, in the insect kingdom, even the most insignificant species has a love, if we may apply this emotional term to the rigors of animal mating, story to tell.
Consider, for example, that males of a certain fly species attempt to woo females with a “gift,” bringing the object of their desire a captured insect neatly wrapped up in a sort of silk. Appearances can be misleading:In some cases, once the male leaves, the female discovers that the present is empty wrappings.
Among those colorful birds, quetzals, the male’s acrobatic flight shows off his glistening emerald-green plumage. Between twirls, chases, and a few bites, he wins his lady’s heart. Animal mating takes a different path among fiery-throated hummingbirds. Females of this species are more concerned with power than love. They size up the quantity and quality of flowers a male controls before accepting any proposal. Once mutual interest has been established, the female nests near the male’s territory and mates with him. He is assured his fatherhood while she receives a steady source of food in exchange. Actually, this is something you may be able to observe if you’re patient, since hummingbirds are found all over the country, from deep in the rainforest to gardens and courtyards at luxury travel destinations.
Songs are also a favored method of encouraging animal mating. The gaudy leaf frog, for one, releases a vocal high note above forest treetops. The female approaches the male she has chosen, embracing him so tightly that she lifts him off his feet and onto her back. She carries him down to a nearby pond where she fills her womb with water and looks for a leaf on which to deposit her eggs, which are then fertilized by the male. To do this properly, the sexual organs of both participants must be very close to each other, which is another reason for their rather peculiar embrace This could be called “rough trade” in the animal mating world.
Lasting love affairs are also common among wild creatures. Take that peculiar insect, the walking stick. After competing against various other males for the love of a female, the winner is left to ponder his love interest while remaining on his backside for many days. He even eats that way!
Of course, animal mating is replete with rampant polygamy. Silky anteater males may have as many as three females available for mating. Male coatimundies always roam alone and have the opportunity, during mating season, to join groups of female coatimundies and their offspring. The male enjoys his adventure, caressing the females and sleeping with them in the same tree on nights of his choosing.
The apparent advantage males enjoy in some species is nonexistent in the Jacanidae family of birds. The males bear most of the “motherly” responsibilities, including building the nest, incubating the eggs, and looking after the young hatchlings. They even carry the young beneath their wings. Females, on the other hand, may help build the nest if they choose, but they only do it to show off. In a case of turning the tables in the animal mating game, they mate copulate with up to four neighboring males and mostly help defend their territories.
Some insect females are also quite privileged. Not only do they get to pick their mates, but also decide at which point they want to fertilize their eggs. In fact, during this form of animal mating, the male deposits his sample into the female, which she may store without using. Further, once the male leaves, another male can come along and do the same. The female can then choose which of the two samples to use. Therefore, in order for a male to win her “affections,” he must continue to flirt with her even after mating has taken place, to ensure she selects his sperm to fertilize her eggs.
Another example of this curious animal mating trait is the female blue shark, which can store sperm for up to one year before fertilization occurs. There are no apparent potency problems in sperm storage, because blue shark females bear up to 135 young. Female whales of some species also have it good: it is not uncommon for one female to end up with several males.
Animal mating hurts—and sometimes, kills. case Consider tarantulas, which mate only once a year. When the job is done, the male must make a quick exit to avoid being eaten. Walking stick males practically assault their mates, then leave the scene as quickly as possible. Sometimes, however, the female fights back and they end up killing each other.
As among humans, the gigolo can be found on the animal mating scene. Female gold spiders, for instance, share their webs with many males competing to win the female’s love, all the while feeding on prey she captures during the competition.
Perhaps not surprisingly, animal mating is not free from those who fear commitment. Tree lizards, for example, establish ties of friendship. Females and males share food and shelter until the male grows tired of his mate and leaves her for another. And for evidence of altercations, look no further than the shells of green turtles, which frequently show markings from lovers’ quarrels. Are the markings reminders of an ideal love out at sea? Perhaps. But they may also be evidence of times when the female may not have been in the mood. Crabs are more delicate, since they only get together when females molt and the shell is still soft.
The human ideal of love seems to be reflected to perfection in the breeding habits of red macaws. Male macaws choose one mate and stay with her for life. Males and females also share the duties of raising their young together, creating a stable, loving family in the process.
And that’s nothing to squawk at, especially if you’re enjoying a chilled rosé at a luxury travel venue in Nosara Costa Rica or Quepos Costa Rica where more than a few of these admirably monogamous creatures have been known to show up! Of course, both of these resort destinations are serviced by Costa Rica Airlines including Nature Air.
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