Strange Mates

  • Pub date: August
  • ISBN-13: 9781907708398
  • Author: George Lewis
  • Price: US$ 11.95
  • Binding: HB
  • No. of pages: 128
  • Photos: N/a
  • Dimensions: 6-1/2 x 6-1/2"
  • Color : Full color throughout

Strange Mates

The weird and wonderful world of animal attraction

Think you know all about the birds and bees? The mating rituals of some creatures are frankly bizarre, frequently disturbing - but endlessly fascinating. After reading Strange Mates, you'll look at courtship and sex in a completely different way, astonished when you learn of the honey bee's exploding testicles, the frigatebird's inflatable red heart-shaped throat sac, the male giraffe's urine taste test to check if his mate's ready for "makin' whoopee!"

You'll discover nature's nifty movers: the little manakin bird who woos the ladies with an impressive Michael Jackson style moonwalk; you'll learn how similar we humans can be to white-fronted parrots, which lock beaks and kiss, French style, before vomiting. Clownfish don't fool around when it comes to mating: if the female of a pair dies her partner changes sex and breeds with another male.

Where the lumbering giant Galapagos tortoise is concerned, size is everything - but only when it comes to the length of his neck - whereas with the 193kg silverback gorilla the opposite is true: this stud of a troop of up to thirty females is less well endowed, with only a 4cm long penis.

Men? Who needs them? Certainly not whiptail lizards. These reptiles of the Americas are all female and reproduce after the act of pseudocopulation - by cloning themselves. On the other hand, female anglerfish do have a use for the male of the species: the tiny male anglerfish, born without a digestive system, fuses with his giant partner's body and wastes away, releasing sperm to fertilize her egg.

If a romantic dinner à deux with the one you love ranks high in the courtship stakes, consider the hippo: the male's idea of wooing a potential beau is to spin his tail like a propeller while defecting and urinating. The ladies find this utterly irresistible.

Strange Mates takes an affectionate, tongue-in-cheek look at the mating practices of our neighbours in the animal kingdom and asks the pertinent question: "Are we so different?" The answer, although an emphatic "Yes!", is a fascinating snapshot of the diversity of nature and the propagation of species.

Inside pages - click to enlarge