B2 High-Intermediate US 627 Folder Collection
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The average couple has sex for anywhere from 30 seconds to about 45 minutes.
Now, 45 minutes sounds long until
you consider the brown antechinus.
For two weeks every mating season,
a male will mate as much as physically possible.
Sometimes having sex for up to 14 hours at a time,
flitting from one female to the next.
And all that testosterone revs up
his stress hormone production into overdrive.
That, in turn, crashes his immune system,
making him extremely vulnerable to disease and infection.
Oftentimes, he dies before his young are even born.
Scientists call this kamikaze mating
technique "suicidal reproduction."
It turns out that for many species, sex kills.
Take the male honeybee. His primary job?
Mate with the queen. But sadly for him,
he only gets to mate once
because during the act, his reproductive organs
are ripped off and his testicles explode.
In the process, his semen shoots
through her oviduct where she stores it for later use.
Hey, at least it's a quick death,
especially compared to some deep sea anglerfish.
Like the triplewart seadevil.
This one's a female, and you see
that tiny parasite on her side?
That's the male. It would be like
if a human male only came up to a woman's ankle.
Instead of hunting for his own food,
the male bites into the female,
fusing his body with hers and living
off the nutrients in her blood.
In return, he provides the one thing he has to offer: sperm.
But, there's a catch. In the process,
his body shrivels up. He loses his eyes, fins,
and most internal organs until ultimately
he becomes just a portable sperm bank for the female.
Fortunately, not all males have it that rough.
The short-beaked echidna survives mating,
but his sex life is anything but ordinary.
He'll line up with around nine other males
and follow a single female for up
to a month during mating season.
But here's the interesting part.
Females have a forked reproductive tract,
but that doesn't deter the males
because they have a four-headed penis.
So during sex, the male alternates,
swapping out spent pairs as each fires its semen.
And that semen is supercharged.
Hundreds of sperm glom together into bundles
which can swim faster than individual sperm,
increasing their chance of fertilization.
If that's not impressive enough,
his penis reaches nearly a quarter
of his body length when erect.
But that's nothing compared to a barnacle's.
That little crustacean has proportionally
the longest penis of any animal on Earth,
spanning up to 10 times his body size.
That's like humans reaching the length of a bowling lane.
And the barnacle needs it
because he can't move around very easily.
So he casts out his giant penis
like a fishing line to find a mate.
It waves about in the current,
reaching to touch and fertilize
the female organs of its neighbor.
Bee or barnacle, reproduction finds
creative ways to continue on.
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The Most Extreme Sex In The Animal Kingdom

627 Folder Collection
April Lu published on February 13, 2019    Clément translated    Evangeline reviewed
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