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The Mating Game

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

Round 2

Meet the contestant:
Stefan, the American burying beetle
(Nicrophorus americanus)

Host: Let's welcome Stefan to The Mating Game. It's great to have you with us today. I once met a burying beetle from Oklahoma by the name of Ramel. I don't suppose there's any relation, is there? I suppose not. Anyway, why don't you tell us a little about yourself.

Stefan: Well, Larry, I'm a five-week-old burying beetle, and I come from a small island off the coast of Rhode Island. What else? I guess this may surprise you, because I'm a beetle, but I'm really hoping to establish a strong pair bond with my dream mate. And ultimately I'd like to settle down and raise a family with her.

Host: Is it true that you like carrion an awful lot?

Stefan: It's not so much that I like it, but I do need it in order to reproduce.

Host: Okay, well, let's hope for everybody's sake that you choose correctly then.

Behind each of the three curtains before you sits a different creature -- but only one of them is the female burying beetle you're looking for! Because your requirements seem a little peculiar, I suspect you'll be able to pick the perfect match pretty easily.

Are you ready to begin, Stefan? Let's go!

The game:

Question 1:

How long would your ideal relationship last?

Bachelorette #1: 

I once heard of a relationship that lasted 19 minutes. That would be phenomenal!

Bachelorette #2: 

If I had a choice, I'd say a lifetime, but it depends more on how long you remain dominant among our peers.

Bachelorette #3: 

I've thought a lot about this: Four weeks would be perfect.

Question 2:

What might you do to convince me that you're the one for me?

Bachelorette #1: 

Don't you have that turned around? Isn't it you who has to convince me?

Bachelorette #2: 

I don't think I'd have to do much: fall in line, stay with the group, care for the young.

Bachelorette #3: 

I think what might impress you most is my fighting ability. I'd simply be the only female left for you to choose from.

Question 3:

Would you rather have your space, or a male who helps with the day-to-day?

Bachelorette #1: 

Day to day?! Are you kidding? I only have a few hours, so the sooner we're finished with our business, you can be on your way.

Bachelorette #2: 

That's a funny question. Naturally, I prefer to have a lot of personal space.

Bachelorette #3: 

I would love to have a cooperative relationship -- just the two of us, insulated from the rest of the world.

The choice:

Host: Okay, Stefan, it's time to choose.

What do you think? Is that carrion-loving mate of your dreams behind Curtain Number One, Number Two, or Number Three? Take your time, and review the bachelorettes' responses if you like. Then, when you're ready, click on a curtain to reveal your choice.

Well, audience, Stefan has chosen Bachelorette Number Three. What do you think? Good choice? First, let's see who he passed up before we meet his match -- or mismatch, as the case may be.

Meet the bachelorettes:

Host: Okay, Stefan, meet Bachelorette Number One. Come on out, Caroline. A common fruit fly, Caroline's not long for this world. She'll live about another two weeks. Caroline has no choice but to breed quickly and produce lots of eggs, since she won't be around to protect and care for them. It looks like you did well avoiding her, Stefan. And you, Caroline, for taking so much of your precious time, we're going to rush you off, all expenses paid, to the outdoor fruit market down the street, where you can grab a quick bite!

Stefan, meet Bachelorette Number Two, a 34-year-old African elephant named Roberta. I have to say, you two could not be more different! For one thing, even if it were possible for the two of you to have children, Roberta's gestation period would last longer than your entire lifetime! Also, she plans to have very few offspring and to devote years to their care. So, it's safe to say you did well by not selecting her today. Right this way, Roberta -- we have a lovely day planned for you at the Graze and Wallow spa.

All right, Stefan, time to meet your mystery date. She's slim, she's got a carapace, and she likes dead and rotting rodents probably as much as you do. Come on out, Allegra! According to her bio, Allegra is an American burying beetle who wants nothing more than to dig a hole, drag in a dead mouse, seal herself and her mate inside the chamber, and lay a bunch of eggs on the carcass. Sounds like you two were made for each other! To get you off to a good start, we're going to send you to sunny Acapulco, Mexico, with a fresh road-killed meadow vole to lay your eggs on. Have a blast, you two, and good luck with the forthcoming family!

-> Go to Round 3

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

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