Love, Naturally

Photograph by Expeditieteam Aldabra/ Foto Natura/Minden Pictures
Photograph by Tim Laman/National Geographic Society/Corbis
Photograph by Scott Leslie/Minden Pictures/Corbis
Spacebirdy/Wikimedia Commons
Photograph by Pete Oxford/NPL/Minden Pictures
Heidi Schuyt/Flickr Creative Commons
Photograph by Tim Laman/National Geographic Creative
Photograph by Norbert Wu/Minden Pictures
Photograph by Thomas Wiewandt

Love, Naturally

10 Amazing Ways Animals Woo a Mate

By Simone M. Scully
Published: 02/14/2014

Love can be tough, and there are plenty of examples in nature to prove it. Capuchin monkeys throw stones to get a date; some male marsupials kill themselves with too much rigorous sex; praying mantises routinely risk losing their heads. In honor of this Valentine’s Day holiday, here are 10 animals’ tricks for attracting that special someone.

1. Show Your Heart

Photograph by Expeditieteam Aldabra/ Foto Natura/Minden Pictures

Male frigate birds use giant throat sacs resembling heart-shaped balloons to attract their mates. They inflate the sacs while waggling their heads, shaking their wings, and calling to a female. Only the male with the biggest display will get the girl.

Similar to frigates, hooded seals blow up the crimson ‘hood’ on their nose and wobble it around to display their “manliness” to the females and to scare away rivals. But their red balloons seem to lack the same heart.

2. Dance to Impress

Photograph by Tim Laman/National Geographic Society/Corbis

Who doesn’t love a man who can dance? Female manakins surely do, and their boys know it. These confidently, colored Casanovas turn branches into dance floors where they “moonwalk” to catch the eye of a lady. They also make loud buzzes and snapping sounds to make themselves further stand out. Alpha males have the home court advantage, and they usually win the love match.

Check out this little guy’s Michael Jackson moves:

See video
A male manakin shows off his dance skills to impress his potential mate

3. Add a Dash of Danger

Photograph by Scott Leslie/Minden Pictures/Corbis

Having trouble getting a date? Well, if all else fails, you can try a scare tactic. That is the way of the male water strider. Female water striders don’t always accept advances easily. In fact, they like to keep things modest with a genital shield that acts like a chastity belt. As a result, the males often hurry things along by tapping their legs against the water surface. The tapping lures predatory fish, so the quicker she gives in, the less likely she will be eaten—especially since the male mounts her while she floats on the surface, making her the one most at risk of becoming fish food.

4. Be Ready to Fight

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Simone M. Scully

Simone M. Scully is a reporter at Audubon Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @ScullySimone

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine

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