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Sexual selection

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The sexual activity of the southern bottletail squid involves choosy females eating losers' ejaculate. Saspotato

Squid or swallow: the sexual tastes of a cephalopod

In romantic circles, reproduction is viewed as a harmonious venture between the sexes. After all, if you aim to produce the best offspring possible, wouldn’t it also be best to cooperate with your partner…

Female fruit flies determine paternity

There are new insights as to how females play a significant role in determining paternity. The Syracuse University study…

Sexual selection in the bottletail squid

New insights have been made into how male southern bottletail squids produce the greatest number of offspring. The female…
It turns out guppy genital length is genetic – for females as well as males. Alice Chaos

Guppies and sexual conflict? It’s a genital arms race

It’s not always easy to tell if a fish is male or female: they look more or less the same. But there are exceptions, such as guppies and, as with humans, guppy genitalia varies in size across the species…
We use a range of hormone-induced indicators to determine who is male and who is female on a daily basis. European Parliament

Male, female – ah, what’s the difference?

What is a male? What is a female? If you were to conduct a survey, most people would probably have little difficulty expressing some fundamental differences. After all, we learn to tell boys apart from…
Researchers applied sunblock to the plumage of female blue tits to see how males reacted. Marko_K

Blue beauty: why male tits work harder for attractive partners

Rearing young is a costly business that often affects an individual’s own future survival or reproduction prospects. And so it makes sense for individuals to find ways to ensure the energy they spend on…
If you’re a female guppy it pays to take many mates … sort of. André "Drekas" Correia/Flickr

More sex partners means more grandkids … if you’re a guppy

Here’s some good news: having more sexual partners makes females more fertile. A recent study on Trinidadian guppies has shown that females who mate with multiple males produce more grand-offspring than…
Feel free to bust out some tunes, but you won’t fool the children of the evolution. Verano y mil tormentas

DarwinTunes: when you get that feeling it’s, uh, sexual hearing?

What transforms noise from album filler to dancefloor killer? Why do some tracks turn us on while others make us tune out? DarwinTunes, a computer program that employs the principles of natural selection…
Female wasp spiders often eat their mate straight after intercourse. Wikimedia Commons

Sticky and picky: why male orb-web spiders like heavy virgins

When it comes to selecting a mate, females are traditionally thought of as the choosy sex; males, meanwhile, aren’t thought to be particularly picky. This makes sense for many species – the sex that invests…
Humans and spider monkeys are the only primate species without a penis bone. Chris Makarsky

The human penis is a puzzler, no bones about it

The penis. It comes in so many different shapes and sizes … and that’s just in humans. As you would imagine, different species have very different penises. The males in most mammal species, including cats…
Chemical cues may act as matchmakers for sperm and ova. wellcome images

Ova here, mate: do sperm ‘smell’ their way to the best eggs?

On the face of it, a sperm’s work seems pretty straightforward: locate an egg and fertilise it. Job done. But in the world of a sessile broadcast-spawning marine invertebrate – immobile organisms in which…

Winged dinosaur had iridescent plumage

A team of palaeontologists from across the globe has reconstructed the colour and feather pattern of a winged dinosaur that…

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