You'd think mating in the animal kingdom would be a simple thing. The biggest, strongest male gets to mate with the females. Or maybe he has to prove himself in combat with another male first, whatever.
But mating among animals and insects is no less complicated than it is among humans. It's all about being devious, and when it comes to sex, even the lowest of life forms have mastered the art of trickery, deceit and blackmail.
#7. Scorpionflies Resort to Transexual Regifting
Scorpionflies, hangingflies and other Mecoptera are pretty terrifying-looking insects (not surprising for giant flying predatory fleas), but they also have a romantic side; during the mating season, males will find the juiciest, tastiest-looking bugs they can catch and present them like a box of chocolates to the females, who will carefully judge the offering and reciprocate the gesture with however much exoskeletal humping his effort deserves.
This has to be worth a proboscis job!
Unfortunately, competition for armor-plated pussy can get pretty fierce, and weaker males can have trouble outdoing the eviscerated cockroaches seductively waved around by stronger, more confident men. Those bastards! How do you compete with that?!
"Just look at the size of his tail bulge!"
Well, you'd think maybe they'd try to steal the kills from the bigger males, or something that makes you feel proud of the nerds of the species. But you forget that bugs really don't have a concept of "dignity."
"Is there something in my proboscis?"
So, taking a page from about a million '80s high school comedies, the desperate underdog males will sometimes impersonate females. You know, so that the tough-guy males will offer them juicy bugs in order to mate with them. Then the little guy simply takes those offerings and regifts them to score himself some segmented tail. Next time you see some douchebag picking up college girls in his Ferrari, just dress in drag long enough to swipe the keys.
Warning: Moderate-to-heavy fondling may be required.
#6. Squid Engage in Drive-by Spermings
Squid sex is rough enough on anime chicks, but it's even worse if you're a male squid. Yeah, you're a badass sea monster with a razor-sharp beak, a tongue covered in rasping teeth and muscular tentacles lined with hundreds of razor-edged suckers, but so is she ... and she's usually bigger than you.
Above: Humans using electricity to force a male squid to "mate" with a dead female. Science, bitches!
Skipping the entire challenge of courtship, some species of squid store their sperm in complex arrowlike packets they can unexpectedly unleash on the female like a volley of spoogemissiles, fleeing back into the depths before she can even friendzone him.
"Have fun wringing child support out of some other chump!"
The female might not even notice he was ever there, except for the spunk-filled needles now drilling into her body. The literal cock rockets first adhere to the female's skin with a cementlike secretion, then release digestive enzymes to drive themselves deeper and deeper. Whether or not she was ready to settle down, her body will automatically absorb and utilize the sperm almost anywhere it hits, making the male squid sort of like a flying rape gun and the female squid sort of like one big inside-out fanged vagina.
In other words, you don't need to feel bad about eating them.
#5. Water Striders Use Predators as Wingmen
If you've visited a pond in the springtime almost anywhere in the world, chances are pretty high you've seen some insects called Gerridae or water striders, who skate along the water's surface like magical little insect messiahs. Little did you know they were busy perfecting insane new lows in the art of extortion.
Also: Ponds look disgusting up close.
Skipping any kind of courtship process, a male strider will just skate over to the nearest female and climb on top of her. If she's not in the mood, she can simply block him off with her "genital shield," a natural insect chastity belt. Many males just get discouraged and find some sluttier thorax to chase after, but desperate, possibly sociopathic males will talk her into it with a unique type of extortion.
See, a natural enemy of the water strider is its own close cousin the backswimmer, an insect that spends all of its time hanging upside-down from the other side of the water's surface tension. If a female strider won't open the back door, a persistent male will strum the water in just the right way to grab the attention of backswimmers, basically splashing around like an idiot until she has to choose between shutting him up with sex or getting eaten by her mirror-world doppelganger.
Image by Chang S. Han
"How much Axe did you put on? I'll take my chances with the monster."
Keep in mind, the male is on top, so he'd be protected from the predator approaching from below. He can basically wait there all day, with the female's choice to either let him have his way or get eaten. Though it'd have to be a pretty big ego bruise for the males every time a female chooses the latter.
"I want to drown myself but I can't stop floating!"
#4. Antelopes Reel Them in With Fear and Lies
When a girl antelope blossoms into adulthood and starts to feel funny about boy antelopes, she may leave her own herd to mingle with others, a good evolutionary strategy for a healthy gene pool. Males, of course, are too busy thinking with their dongs to worry about the finer points of natural selection and will do whatever it takes to keep a fine piece of tail close to home.
You would, too, if you looked this stupid.
Under normal circumstances, when a male antelope spots danger, it's his duty to let out a warning signal telling the herd to stick close together -- safety in numbers and all. Since you can never be too careful when you're made of meat in lion country, the whole herd blindly obeys these warning cries every single time.
Some males have learned to take advantage of this. So, when a male spots a hot young female straying from the herd, he'll let out the same warning call he normally reserves for approaching lions, and even aim it right in the direction she was headed, employing shockingly human dishonesty to manipulate a potential lay. No matter how many times he pulls the same bullshit, she has no real reason to doubt him and would be crazy to risk getting eaten alive. Also, she's just a stupid animal.
Shit, there goes another one! It's like it's raining lions!