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The Mating Game

Introduction | Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Mating Gallery


Dating and Mating Gallery

Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

  • Distribution: Australia, ern Europe and eastern and southern Africa.
  • Habitat: Inland lakes and reservoirs, especially those with vegetation fringing their shores.
  • Reproduction: Mated pairs are monogamous and territorial. Courtship rituals solidify the pair bond, as mates defend their territory together and perform mating dances, where mates give clumps of water plants to one another. A mated pair will produce two to seven eggs per year.
  • Growth and Development: Young leave the nest almost immediately after hatching and swim with, or are carried by, adults. Adults may continue to feed young for up to three months.
great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Satin bowerbird (Ptilinorhynchus violaceus)

  • Distribution: Eastern Australia, from Victoria to southeast Queensland
  • Habitat: Rainforest interspersed with grassy openings.
  • Reproduction: Satin bowerbirds are polygamous. Males construct elaborate arched bowers out of twigs and course grasses, which they decorate with objects like flower petals, feathers, stones, and bottle caps, preferably blue. Males are territorial and occasionally destroy or steal from bowers of rivals.
  • Growth and Development: Female lays one to two eggs, which she incubates independent of the male. Nestlings hatch 28 to 32 days after hatching and are fed by the female for about 34 days before they fledge and disperse from the nest area.
satin bowerbird (Ptilinorhynchus violaceus)

Blackdevil anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii)

  • Distribution: Atlantic Ocean
  • Habitat: Extremely deep ocean waters, up to several thousand feet below the surface.
  • Reproduction: The male blackdevil anglerfish lives his life as a parasite. Attached to the body of his mate, he acquires nutrients directly from her bloodstream. Although this arrangement primarily benefits the male, it frees both sexes from constantly seeking out new breeding partners whenever it is time to mate.
  • Growth and Development: The male fertilizes the eggs as the female releases them into the open water. The eggs then float to the surface, where the young hatchlings will feed on plankton until they mature and return to deeper waters.
blackdevil anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii)

Purple tube sponge (Aplysina lacunosa)

  • Distribution: Caribbean Ocean
  • Habitat: Along coral wall faces at depths of 40 to 80 feet
  • Reproduction: Sponges are hermaphroditic, but typically produce eggs and sperm at different times. Eggs and sperm are released as clouds into the water. If fertilized, eggs develop into free-swimming, non-feeding larvae before eventually attaching to a coral reef wall and metamorphosing into tiny sponges.
  • Growth and Development: Growth rates are highly variable among sponges, depending on the productivity of their reef ecosystem. Sponges may live 20 to 100 years and grow to be more than five feet long.
purple tube sponge (Aplysina lacunosa)

American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)

  • Distribution: Block Island, Rhode Island, and parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Status: endangered.
  • Habitat: Maritime shrub thickets and boundaries between forests and meadows
  • Reproduction: When a male finds a carcass, he emits pheromones to attract females. Males and females compete among themselves for the carcass. The largest individual of each sex usually wins, and the successful pair then buries the carcass together in preparation for egg-laying.
  • Growth and Development: The female lays eggs in a brood chamber near the buried carcass. Young hatch after about four days, and the parents feed them for 6 to 12 more days until the young disperse.
American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)

Common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

  • Distribution: Every continent of the world, except Antarctica
  • Habitat: Tropical and temperate forests, scrublands, and grasslands
  • Reproduction: Males attract females with songs. Females have distinct acceptance and rejection songs that they sing in response to suitors. Once paired, fruit flies can reproduce very rapidly, producing hundreds of offspring in just a little more than a week.
  • Growth and Development: The females lay eggs on ripe or rotting fruit. After one day the eggs hatch into larvae. Offspring remain in larval state for three days transform to pupae, and in three more days, become mature fruit flies.
common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

  • Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Habitat: Primarily savanna but also bush and forest habitat
  • Reproduction: Males maintain a complex dominance hierarchy outside the matriarchal societies of females. Dominant males have the most breeding success.
  • Growth and Development: After mating, gestation usually lasts about 22 months -- the longest gestation period of any mammal. Females generally give birth to one calf, which, if male, leaves the herd at 12 to 15 years of age and, if female, remains with the herd for the duration of her 60- to 70-year life span.
African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

  • Distribution: Western North America
  • Habitat: Open sagebrush community
  • Reproduction: Groups of males congregate on leks in early spring. Each male patrols his piece of ground on the lek, strutting and fanning his tail and inflating skin sacs in their necks that make a loud "bubbling" sound when air is thrust out. Females choose males based on their displays and position in the lek; males in the center do best.
  • Growth and Development: After mating, females leave the area to nest and raise their broods alone. They lay six to nine eggs in a ground nest. Young can follow the female shortly after hatching.
sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

Hammer-headed fruit bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus)

  • Distribution: Eastern and central Africa
  • Habitat: Tropical forests near swamps, mangroves, or along rivers
  • Reproduction: Males congregate in lekking trees twice a year -- June to August and December to February - sometimes in groups of more than a hundred. They display for hovering females by flapping their wings and producing a continuous "croaking" sound using their enlarged nasal chambers.
  • Growth and Development: Females reach sexual maturity at six months, males not until 18 months of age. Females usually give birth to one young, with peak birthing seasons in February and July.
Hammer-headed fruit bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus)

Uganda kob (Kobus kob thomasi)

  • Distribution: Central Africa
  • Habitat: Floodplains and other wet, open areas
  • Reproduction: Males defend territories on courtship arenas called leks. An average lek about 200 meters in diameter will contain about 15 circular territories, each defended by a male. Males patrol their territory's boundary, whistling loudly in an attempt to attract females.
  • Growth and Development: Gestation lasts for about nine months, after which the female gives birth to one offspring on average. Young kobs lie concealed by high grasses for about six weeks after birth. Males and females reach maturity at 13 and 18 months, respectively.
Uganda kob (Kobus kob thomasi)

Eastern gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

  • Distribution: Eastern North America
  • Habitat: Small trees and shrubs near shallow bodies of water
  • Reproduction: Males attract females using a flute-like trill. When females are ready to lay their eggs, males and females climb down to a pond to mate. As the females lay their eggs in the water, the males fertilize them externally. A single female may lay up to 2,000 eggs.
  • Growth and Development: Tadpoles become young frogs in eight to 10 weeks. By summer's end, young frogs have left the pond to begin feeding in trees and shrubs alongside the adults.
eastern gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

  • Distribution: Eastern North America
  • Habitat: Small trees and shrubs near shallow bodies of water
  • Reproduction: Males attract females using a courtship song described as a nasal "quank-quank-quank." When females are ready to lay their eggs, males and females climb down to a pond to mate. As the females lay their eggs in the water, the males fertilize them externally. A single female may lay up to 2,000 eggs.
  • Growth and Development: Tadpoles become young frogs in eight to 10 weeks. By summer's end, young frogs have left the pond to begin feeding in trees and shrubs alongside the adults.
Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Green treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

  • Distribution: Eastern North America
  • Habitat: Low vegetation very near constant water sources, including swamps, lakes, and streams
  • Reproduction: Males use a nasal croak to attract females. When eggs are mature, the females enter the water and are clasped by the males in a process called amplexus. As the female lays the eggs, the male fertilizes them externally. The small packets usually attach to floating vegetation.
  • Growth and Development: Tadpoles transform into adults after about 2 months.
green treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Introduction | Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Mating Gallery

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