This post is not about sex. It is about some of the most amazing mating rituals in nature. The videos below show spectacular footage of rare animal behavior and unique mating customs. After you watch them you will never look at these wonderful creature the same way.
The mating ritual of the great slug is is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in the natural world. Talk about making love to another! When people see this they’ll look upon the humble garden slug with a new eye.
Limax Maximus (literally, “great slug”), also known as the leopard slug, is one of the largest kinds of keeled air-breathing land slug in the world. Although native to Europe, this species has been accidentally introduced to many other parts of the world.
This species has a very unusual and distinctive mating method, where the pair of slugs hang in the air, suspended from a tree branch or other structure, using a thick thread of mucus.
The mating ritual of Angler Fish is just as fascinating as that of the Leopard Slug, but more extreme. The male lives solely to find and mate with a female. They are significantly smaller than a female angler fish, and may have trouble finding food in the deep sea. When he finds a female, he bites into her skin, and releases an enzyme that digests the skin of his mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. The male then slowly atrophies, first losing his digestive organs, then his brain, heart, and eyes, and ends as nothing more than a pair of gonads, which release sperm in response to hormones in the female’s bloodstream indicating egg release. This extreme sexual dimorphism ensures that, when the female is ready to spawn, she has a mate immediately available. As if that wouldn’t be enough, multiple males can be incorporated into a single female.
Bats are the only species beside humans to engage in oral sex during intercourse, in order to prolong sexual stimulation. During mating season, it is not unusual for the whole group to participate in a large orgy.
Sexual cannibalism is common among mantises in captivity, and under some circumstances may also be observed in the field. The female may start feeding by biting off the male’s head (as they do with regular prey), and if mating had begun, the male’s movements may become even more vigorous in its delivery of sperm. The reason for sexual cannibalism has been debated, with some considering submissive males to be achieving a selective advantage in their ability to produce offspring.
The mating season is short and females are only able to conceive for a few days each year. She will detach herself from the herd. The scent of the female (cow) elephant in heat (or estrus) attracts the male and she also uses audible signals to attract the male. As the female can usually outrun the male, she does not have to mate with every male that approaches her.
The male initiates the courtship and the female ignores him for several minutes. He then stops and starts again. Elephants display a range of affectionate interactions, such as nuzzling, trunk intertwining, and placing their trunks in each other’s mouths.
In a rarely observed display of his affection, he may drape his trunk outside of his tusks during the ritual. The interactions may last for 20–30 minutes and do not necessarily result in the male mounting the female, though he may demonstrate arousal during the ritual. The female elephant is not passive in the ritual and uses the same techniques as the male.