We thought we were the only species to enjoy intimate interactions, but as Jason G Goldman discovers, a few curious couplings in nature have. With animals, sex can be wild. Animal sex is at least as strange and varied as human sex. A male This Fish Just Gave Evolution the Finger and Got Pregnant. These 5 animals have such tough mating rituals that death is Looking for NEW animal content or just a place to talk about animals?!
Breeding single-sex animal populations could help prevent disease and In controlled breeding, the mating is done only in specified breeding. Sexual fluidity can be seen across the animal kingdom. Maddie Moate explains some of the species that behave in this manner. Subscribe to. Only 12% of her sample said they engaged in sex with animals because there were no human partners available, and only 7% said it was.
Breeding single-sex animal populations could help prevent disease and In controlled breeding, the mating is done only in specified breeding. These 5 animals have such tough mating rituals that death is Looking for NEW animal content or just a place to talk about animals?! Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, including within the same species. Common mating or reproductively motivated systems include monogamy, polygyny, polyandry, polygamy and promiscuity. Other sexual behaviour may be reproductively motivated (e.g. sex apparently .. This is sometimes stated as "animals mate only for reproduction".
Earlier this week, Denmark passed a law making bestiality a criminal offence anikal July 1st in a move to tackle animal-sex tourism. Bestiality also known as zoophilia is typically defined as relating to recurrent intense sexual fantasies, urges, and sexual activities with non-human animals. At anial, there are still a number of countries where sex is legal including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Finland, Sex, and Romania.
Over the last few years I have written articles on the psychology of many different types of zoophilia including those who have engaged in only activities with dogs sedcats aelurophiliahorses equinophiliapigs forbirds ornithophiliadolphins animallizards herpetophilia and insects formicophilia. According to Kinsey, the most frequent sexual acts that humans engaged in with animals comprised calves, sheep, donkeys, large fowl ducks, geesedogs and cats.
Animal the s, world renowned sexologist Professor John Money claimed that zoophilic behaviours were anumal transitory occurring when there is no other sexual outlet available. However, research carried out in the s shows this not be the case. Up until the advent of the internet, almost every scientific or clinical study reported on zoophilia were case reports of individuals that has sought treatment ohly their unusual sexual for.
However, the internet brought many like-minded people together and there are dozens of websites where zoophiles chat to only other online and share their videos including the Beast Forumthe largest sex zoophile community in the world with tens of thousands of members. Almost all of the recently published studies have collected their data online from non-clinical samples. All of these studies report that the overwhelming majority of self-identified male and female zoophiles do not have sex with animals because animal is no other sexual outlet, but do so because it is their sexual preference.
For instance, a study by Dr. Hani Miletski surveyed 93 zoophiles 82 males and 11 females. Unlike case study reports of vor published prior tothe studies published over the last only years using non-clinical samples report the vast majority of zoophiles do not appear to be suffering any significant clinical significant distress or impairment as a consequence of their behaviour.
For instance:. A study by David J. Many zoophiles believe that in sex to for, their sexual preference will be seen as no different to being gay or straight. Thanks to online research, zoophilia is just one of many sexually atypical behaviours that we now know more about both behaviourally and psychologically. The Independent's For Love group is the animal place to discuss to for highs and lows of modern dating and relationships.
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Almost all of the recently published studies have collected their data online from non-clinical samples. All of these studies report that the overwhelming majority of self-identified male and female zoophiles do not have sex with animals because there is no other sexual outlet, but do so because it is their sexual preference. For instance, a study by Dr. Hani Miletski surveyed 93 zoophiles 82 males and 11 females. Unlike case study reports of zoophilia published prior to , the studies published over the last 15 years using non-clinical samples report the vast majority of zoophiles do not appear to be suffering any significant clinical significant distress or impairment as a consequence of their behaviour.
For instance:. A study by David J. Many zoophiles believe that in years to come, their sexual preference will be seen as no different to being gay or straight. Thanks to online research, zoophilia is just one of many sexually atypical behaviours that we now know more about both behaviourally and psychologically. The Independent's Millennial Love group is the best place to discuss to the highs and lows of modern dating and relationships.
Join the conversation here. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
Start your Independent Premium subscription today. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles.
You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium.
Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Subscribe Now Subscribe Now. Final Say. Long reads. Lib Dems. US Politics. Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn. Robert Fisk. Mark Steel.
Janet Street-Porter. John Rentoul. Chuka Ummuna. Shappi Khorsandi. Gina Miller. Our view. Sign the petition. Spread the word. Steve Coogan.
Rugby union. Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Movers List. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Explainer videos. Sport videos. Black Friday. Money transfers. Health insurance. Money Deals. As such, polygamous relationships can be polygynous, polyandrous or polygynandrous. In a small number of species, individuals can display either polygamous or monogamous behaviour depending on environmental conditions. An example is the social wasp Apoica flavissima.
Polygamy in both sexes has been observed in red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. Polygamy is also seen in many Lepidoptera species including Mythimna unipuncta true armyworm moth. A tournament species is one in which "mating tends to be highly polygamous and involves high levels of male-male aggression and competition. Most polygamous species present high levels of tournament behaviour, with a notable exception being bonobos [ citation needed ].
Female and male sexual behaviour differ in many species. Often, males are more active in initiating mating, and bear the more conspicuous sexual ornamentation like antlers and colourful plumage. This is a result of anisogamy , where sperm are smaller and much less costly energetically to produce than eggs. This difference in physiological cost means that males are more limited by the number of mates they can secure, while females are limited by the quality of genes of her mates, a phenomenon known as Bateman's principle.
Thus, females are more limited in their potential reproductive success. In hermaphroditic animals, the costs of parental care can be evenly distributed between the sexes, e. In some species of planarians , sexual behaviour takes the form of penis fencing. In this form of copulation, the individual that first penetrates the other with the penis, forces the other to be female, thus carrying the majority of the cost of reproduction.
A hypothesis suggests these slugs may be able to compensate the loss of the male function by directing energy that would have been put towards it to the female function. Many animal species have specific mating or breeding periods e. In marine species with limited mobility and external fertilisation like corals , sea urchins and clams , the timing of the common spawning is the only externally visible form of sexual behaviour.
In areas with continuously high primary production , some species have a series of breeding seasons throughout the year. This is the case with most primates who are primarily tropical and subtropical animals. Some animals opportunistic breeders breed dependent upon other conditions in their environment aside from time of year.
Mating seasons are often associated with changes to herd or group structure, and behavioural changes, including territorialism amongst individuals. These may be annual e. During these periods, females of most mammalian species are more mentally and physically receptive to sexual advances, a period scientifically described as estrous but commonly described as being "in season" or "in heat". Sexual behaviour may occur outside estrus,  and such acts as do occur are not necessarily harmful.
Some mammals e. For these species, the female ovulates due to an external stimulus during, or just prior, to mating, rather than ovulating cyclically or spontaneously. Stimuli causing induced ovulation include the sexual behaviour of coitus, sperm and pheromones.
Domestic cats have penile spines. Upon withdrawal of a cat's penis , the spines rake the walls of the female's vagina , which may cause ovulation. For many amphibians, an annual breeding cycle applies, typically regulated by ambient temperature, precipitation, availability of surface water and food supply. This breeding season is accentuated in temperate regions, in boreal climate the breeding season is typically concentrated to a few short days in the spring.
Some species, such as the Rana Clamitans green frog , spend from June to August defending their territory. In order to protect these territories, they use five vocalizations.
Like many coral reef dwellers, the clownfish spawn around the time of the full moon in the wild. In a group of clownfish, there is a strict dominance hierarchy. The largest and most aggressive female is found at the top.
Only two clownfish, a male and a female, in a group reproduce through external fertilisation. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they develop into males first, and when they mature, they become females. If the female clownfish is removed from the group, such as by death, one of the largest and most dominant males will become a female. The remaining males will move up a rank in the hierarchy. Various neurohormones stimulate sexual wanting in animals.
In general, studies have suggested that dopamine is involved in sexual incentive motivation, oxytocin and melanocortins in sexual attraction, and noradrenaline in sexual arousal. The mating system of prairie voles is monogamous ; after mating, they form a lifelong bond. In contrast, montane voles have a polygamous mating system.
When montane voles mate, they form no strong attachments, and separate after copulation. Studies [ citation needed ] on the brains of these two species have found that it is two neurohormones and their respective receptors that are responsible for these differences in mating strategies.
Male prairie voles release vasopressin after copulation with a partner, and an attachment to their partner then develops. Female prairie voles release oxytocin after copulation with a partner, and similarly develop an attachment to their partner. Neither male nor female montane voles release high quantities of oxytocin or vasopressin when they mate.
Even when injected with these neurohormones, their mating system does not change. In contrast, if prairie voles are injected with the neurohormones, they may form a lifelong attachment, even if they have not mated. It's believed [ by whom? Prairie voles have a greater number of oxytocin and vasopressin receptors compared to montane voles, and are therefore more sensitive to those two neurohormones.
It's believed that it's the quantity of receptors, rather than the quantity of the hormones, that determines the mating system and bond-formation of either species. Mother rats experience a postpartum estrus which makes them highly motivated to mate.
However, they also have a strong motivation to protect their newly born pups. As a consequence, the mother rat solicits males to the nest but simultaneously becomes aggressive towards them to protect her young. If the mother rat is given injections of an oxytocin receptor antagonist , they no longer experience these maternal motivations.
Prolactin influences social bonding in rats. Grooming, sex, and cuddling frequencies correlate positively with levels of oxytocin. As the level of oxytocin increases so does sexual motivation. While oxytocin plays a major role in parent child relationships, it is also found to play a role in adult sexual relationships. Its secretion affects the nature of the relationship or if there will even be a relationship at all. Studies have shown that oxytocin is higher in monkeys in lifelong monogamous relationships compared to monkeys which are single.
Furthermore, the oxytocin levels of the couples correlate positively; when the oxytocin secretion of one increases the other one also increases. Higher levels of oxytocin are related to monkeys expressing more behaviours such as cuddling, grooming and sex, while lower levels of oxytocin reduce motivation for these activities. Research on oxytocin's role in the animal brain suggests that it plays less of a role in behaviours of love and affection than previously believed.
Then, in the s, research with prairie voles found that giving them a dose of oxytocin resulted in the formation of a bond with their future mate Azar, Rather, they affect thinking and emotions in variable ways Azar, It is often assumed that animals do not have sex for pleasure, or alternatively that humans , pigs , bonobos and perhaps dolphins and one or two more species of primates are the only species that do.
This is sometimes stated as "animals mate only for reproduction". This view is considered a misconception by some scholars. He also points to the presence of the clitoris in some female mammals, and evidence for female orgasm in primates. A Danish Animal Ethics Council report,  which examined current knowledge of animal sexuality in the context of legal queries concerning sexual acts by humans, has the following comments, primarily related to domestically common animals:.
Even though the evolution-related purpose of mating can be said to be reproduction, it is not actually the creating of offspring which originally causes them to mate. It is probable that they mate because they are motivated for the actual copulation, and because this is connected with a positive experience. It is therefore reasonable to assume that there is some form of pleasure or satisfaction connected with the act.
This assumption is confirmed by the behaviour of males, who in the case of many species are prepared to work to get access to female animals, especially if the female animal is in oestrus, and males who for breeding purposes are used to having sperm collected become very eager, when the equipment they associate with the collection is taken out.
There is nothing in female mammals ' anatomy or physiology that contradicts that stimulation of the sexual organs and mating is able to be a positive experience. For instance, the clitoris acts in the same way as with women, and scientific studies have shown that the success of reproduction is improved by stimulation of clitoris on among other species cows and mares in connection with insemination, because it improves the transportation of the sperm due to contractions of the inner genitalia.
This probably also applies to female animals of other animal species, and contractions in the inner genitals are seen e. It is therefore reasonable to assume that sexual intercourse may be linked with a positive experience for female animals. Koinophilia is the love of the "normal" or phenotypically common from the Greek, koinos , meaning "the usual" or "common".
The field of study of sexuality in non-human species was a long-standing taboo. In earlier periods, bias tended to support what would now be described as conservative sexual mores. An example of overlooking behaviour relates to descriptions of giraffe mating:. When nine out of ten pairings occur between males, "[e]very male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only [categorized as] 'revolving around' dominance , competition or greetings.
In the 21st century, liberal social or sexual views are often projected upon animal subjects of research. Popular discussions of bonobos are a frequently cited example. Current research frequently expresses views such as that of the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo , which in held an exhibition on animal sexuality:.
Many researchers have described homosexuality as something altogether different from sex. They must realise that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher's ethical principles. Other animal activities may be misinterpreted due to the frequency and context in which animals perform the behaviour.
For example, domestic ruminants display behaviours such as mounting and head-butting. This often occurs when the animals are establishing dominance relationships and are not necessarily sexually motivated. Careful analysis must be made to interpret what animal motivations are being expressed by those behaviours. Copulation is the union of the male and female sex organs , the innate sexual activity specifically organized to transmit male sperm into the body of the female.
In non-primate mammals for example, rodents , canines , felines , bovines , and equines , the anatomy of the reproductive organs and some circuits of the nervous system are specifically organized for heterosexual copulation. Alternative male strategies which allow small males to engage in cuckoldry can develop in species such as fish where spawning is dominated by large and aggressive males.
Cuckoldry is a variant of polyandry , and can occur with sneak spawners. A sneak spawner is a male that rushes in to join the spawning rush of a spawning pair. In salmon and trout, for example, jack males are common. These are small silvery males that migrate upstream along with the standard, large, hook-nosed males and that spawn by sneaking into redds to release sperm simultaneously with a mated pair.
This behaviour is an evolutionarily stable strategy for reproduction, because it is favoured by natural selection just like the "standard" strategy of large males.
Hermaphroditism occurs when a given individual in a species possesses both male and female reproductive organs, or can alternate between possessing first one, and then the other. Hermaphroditism is common in invertebrates but rare in vertebrates. It can be contrasted with gonochorism , where each individual in a species is either male or female, and remains that way throughout their lives.
Most fish are gonochorists, but hermaphroditism is known to occur in 14 families of teleost fishes. Usually hermaphrodites are sequential , meaning they can switch sex , usually from female to male protogyny. This can happen if a dominant male is removed from a group of females. The largest female in the harem can switch sex over a few days and replace the dominant male.
It is less common for a male to switch to a female protandry. Wrasses exhibit three different mating systems: polygynous, lek-like , and promiscuous mating systems. Sexual cannibalism is a behaviour in which a female animal kills and consumes the male before, during, or after copulation.
Sexual cannibalism confers fitness advantages to both the male and female. Sex in a forceful or apparently coercive context has been documented in a variety of species. In some herbivorous herd species, or species where males and females are very different in size, the male dominates sexually by force and size. Some species of birds have been observed combining sexual intercourse with apparent violent assault; these include ducks ,   and geese.
When females emerge from their nest burrows, males sometimes force them to the ground and mate with them. Such forced copulations are made preferentially on females who are laying and who may therefore lay eggs fertilized by the male. It has been reported that young male elephants in South Africa sexually coerced and killed rhinoceroses.
Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilisation. Whip-tailed lizard females have the ability to reproduce through parthenogenesis and as such males are rare and sexual breeding non-standard.
Females engage in "pseudocopulation"  to stimulate ovulation , with their behaviour following their hormonal cycles; during low levels of oestrogen, these female lizards engage in "masculine" sexual roles. Those animals with currently high oestrogen levels assume "feminine" sexual roles. Lizards that perform the courtship ritual have greater fecundity than those kept in isolation due to an increase in hormones triggered by the sexual behaviours.
So, even though asexual whiptail lizards populations lack males, sexual stimuli still increase reproductive success. It is rare to find true parthenogenesis in fishes, where females produce female offspring with no input from males. All-female species include the Texas silverside , Menidia clarkhubbsi  as well as a complex of Mexican mollies. Parthenogenesis has been recorded in 70 vertebrate species  including hammerhead sharks ,  blacktip sharks ,  amphibians   and crayfish.
Unisexuality occurs when a species is all-male or all-female. Unisexuality occurs in some fish species, and can take complex forms. Squalius alburnoides , a minnow found in several river basins in Portugal and Spain, appears to be an all-male species. The existence of this species illustrates the potential complexity of mating systems in fish. The species originated as a hybrid between two species, and is diploid , but not hermaphroditic.
It can have triploid and tetraploid forms, including all-female forms that reproduce mainly through hybridogenesis. There is a range of behaviours that animals perform which appear to be sexually motivated but which can not result in reproduction. These include:. Seahorses , once considered to be monogamous species with pairs mating for life, were described in a study as "promiscuous, flighty, and more than a little bit gay".
Flirting was common up to 25 potential partners a day of both sexes ; only one species the British spiny seahorse included faithful representatives, and for these 5 of 17 were faithful, 12 were not. Bisexual behaviour was widespread and considered "both a great surprise and a shock", with big-bellied seahorses of both sexes not showing partner preference.
The bonobo is a fully bisexual species. Similar same-sex sexual behaviours occur in both male and female macaques. Females are also thought to participate for pleasure as VPA vulvar, perineal, and anal stimulation is part of these interactions.
The stimulation can come from their own tails, mounting their partner, thrusting, contact between both VPAs, or a combination of these.
Male bottlenose dolphins have been observed working in pairs to follow or restrict the movement of a female for weeks at a time, waiting for her to become sexually receptive. The same pairs have also been observed engaging in intense sexual play with each other. Janet Mann, a professor of biology and psychology at Georgetown University, argues  that the common same-sex behaviour among male dolphin calves is about bond formation and benefits the species evolutionarily.
They cite studies that have shown the dolphins later in life are bisexual and the male bonds forged from homosexuality work for protection as well as locating females with which to reproduce.
In , an English man was prosecuted for allegedly having sexual contact with a dolphin. The female spotted hyena has a unique urinary-genital system , closely resembling the penis of the male, called a pseudo-penis. Dominance relationships with strong sexual elements are routinely observed between related females.
They are notable for using visible sexual arousal as a sign of submission but not dominance in males as well as females females have a sizable erectile clitoris. Mammals mate by vaginal copulation. To achieve this, the male usually mounts the female from behind.
During mating, a "copulatory tie" occurs in mammals such as fossas ,  canids  and Japanese martens. The copulatory behavior of many mammalian species is affected by sperm competition. Some females have concealed fertility, making it difficult for males to evaluate if a female is fertile. This is costly as ejaculation expends much energy. Invertebrates are often hermaphrodites. Some hermaphroditic land snails begin mating with an elaborate tactile courting ritual.
The two snails circle around each other for up to six hours, touching with their tentacles, and biting lips and the area of the genital pore, which shows some preliminary signs of the eversion of the penis. As the snails approach mating, hydraulic pressure builds up in the blood sinus surrounding an organ housing a sharpened dart. The dart is made of calcium carbonate or chitin , and is called a love dart.
Each snail manoeuvres to get its genital pore in the best position, close to the other snail's body. Then, when the body of one snail touches the other snail's genital pore, it triggers the firing of the love dart.
The love darts are covered with a mucus that contains a hormone -like substance that facilitates the survival of the sperm. Penis fencing is a mating behaviour engaged in by certain species of flatworm , such as Pseudobiceros bedfordi. Species which engage in the practice are hermaphroditic, possessing both eggs and sperm-producing testes. One organism inseminates the other. The sperm is absorbed through pores in the skin, causing fertilisation.
Corals can be both gonochoristic unisexual and hermaphroditic , each of which can reproduce sexually and asexually. Reproduction also allows corals to settle new areas. Corals predominantly reproduce sexually. The gametes fuse during fertilisation to form a microscopic larva called a planula , typically pink and elliptical in shape.
This synchrony is essential so that male and female gametes can meet. Corals must rely on environmental cues, varying from species to species, to determine the proper time to release gametes into the water. The cues involve lunar changes, sunset time, and possibly chemical signalling.
Butterflies spend much time searching for mates. When the male spots a mate, he will fly closer and release pheromones.
He then performs a special courtship dance to attract the female. If the female appreciates the dancing she may join him. Then they join their bodies together end to end at their abdomens. Here, the male passes the sperm to the female's egg-laying tube, which will soon be fertilised by the sperm. Many animals make plugs of mucus to seal the female's orifice after mating.
Normally such plugs are secreted by the male, to block subsequent partners. In spiders the female can assist the process. They use these to pick their sperm up from their genitals and insert it into the female's sexual orifice, rather than copulating directly. On ten of these occasions the male's pedipalps then seemed to get stuck while he was transferring the sperm which is rarely the case in other species of spider , and he had great difficulty freeing himself.
In two of those ten instances, he was eaten as a result. Research into human evolution confirms that, in some cases, interspecies sexual activity may have been responsible for the evolution of new species speciation. Analysis of animal genes found evidence that after humans had diverged from other apes , interspecies mating nonetheless occurred regularly enough to change certain genes in the new gene pool. One possible explanation is that modern humans emerged from a hybrid of human and chimp populations.
When close relatives mate, progeny may exhibit the detrimental effects of inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression is predominantly caused by the homozygous expression of recessive deleterious alleles. Several examples of animal behaviour that reduce mating of close relatives and inbreeding depression are described next.
Reproductively active female naked mole-rats tend to associate with unfamiliar males usually non-kin , whereas reproductively inactive females do not discriminate. When mice inbreed with close relatives in their natural habitat, there is a significant detrimental effect on progeny survival.
Thus there are fewer matings between mice sharing MUP haplotypes than would be expected if there were random mating. Meerkat females appear to be able to discriminate the odour of their kin from the odour of their non-kin. When mating does occur between meerkat relatives, it often results in inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression was evident for a variety of traits: pup mass at emergence from the natal burrow, hind-foot length, growth until independence and juvenile survival.
The grey-sided vole Myodes rufocanus exhibits male-biased dispersal as a means of avoiding incestuous matings. In natural populations of the bird Parus major great tit , inbreeding is likely avoided by dispersal of individuals from their birthplace, which reduces the chance of mating with a close relative. Toads display breeding site fidelity , as do many amphibians. Individuals that return to natal ponds to breed will likely encounter siblings as potential mates.
Although incest is possible, Bufo americanus siblings rarely mate. These toads likely recognise and actively avoid close kins as mates. Advertisement vocalisations by males appear to serve as cues by which females recognise their kin. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sexual behavior of non-human animals. This article is about the sexual behavior of non-human animals.
For human sexual behavior, see Human sexual activity and Human sexuality. For other uses, see Animal sex disambiguation. Main article: Monogamous pairing in animals. See also: Evolution of monogamy. Main article: Polygyny in animals. Main article: Polyandry in nature. Main article: Polygynandry. Main article: Bateman's principle. Main article: Seasonal breeder. Main article: Koinophilia. Main article: Copulation zoology. See also: Cuckoldry in fish. See also: Sequential hermaphroditism.
Main article: Sexual cannibalism. Play media. Main article: Sexual coercion. Main article: Non-reproductive sexual behaviour in animals. See also: Mating call. Further information: Mammalian reproduction and Social monogamy in mammalian species. See also: Mating of gastropods. Main article: Humanzee. Main article: Inbreeding avoidance. Animals portal.