Weird Ways Animals Mate (We Know You're Curious)

29/01/2016 3:47 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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(GERMANY OUT) Clown Anemonefish, Amphiprion percula, Alam Batu, Bali, Indonesia (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

In the jungle, the mighty jungle... there is some really weird sex taking place. From golden showers to detachable penises, things are not what they may seem in the animal kingdom.

So, because we know you're curious -- here are some of the wackier ways animals get down and dirty. You'll never be able to look at a porcupine the same way again.

1. Flatworm

Because nothing says 'romance' like stabbing your significant other with your penis, amirite?

Marine flatworms are hermaphroditic, meaning they possess both the male and female reproductive organs. However, it's easier to make sperm than eggs (cue women around the world nodding their heads) so, in any pair of mating flatworms, it's more desirable to be the male.

So how do they decide?

By waging a penis war, of course!

Basically, flatworms have two dagger-like penises (as you do) and, during mating, they will try and stab the other with it. It's a legit thing called penis-fencing.

The flatworm who ends up getting stabbed will absorb the sperm through its skin before facing motherhood alone. That's right -- the flatworm who succeeded in stabbing his mate is free to go forth and enjoy bachelorhood without any further parental responsibilities.

2. Porcupines

Love making can be a prickly affair for a porcupine, and as such, he wants to approach the task (and his mate) with care. The catch? He has to do it quickly, as female porcupines are only up for getting down about 8 to 12 hours per year.

So, in order for the opportunity to pass on his genes without hurting himself in the process, the male must first check she's ready and willing, and does so by dousing her in his urine -- a high-speed projectile that launches from one tree branch to another.

If she's not interested, she'll scream and shake off the urine. If she's in the mood, she'll present her (quill-free) hindquarters so the male can get lucky without impaling himself in the process.

3. Argonaut octopus

Last year, the mating ritual of the argonaut octopus was voted to be the strangest mating practice of an animal in a Society of Biology poll, and with good reason.

Why?

Because the male argonaut octopus has a detachable penis. Not only is that weird enough, he can send his penis swimming off to find a mate (which can be five times his actual size. The mate, that is. Not his penis.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, the male dies soon after sending his penis out to sea, while the female can store his 'penis' (which is actually a sperm-storing tentacle called a hectocotylus) in a special cavity until it is needed.

4. Bees

Like the argonaut octopus, male bees draw the short end of the straw when it comes to this mating business. The sole queen bee gets to choose who she mates with out of the tens of thousands male drones in her colony -- and if that seems like an honour, you don't know how the act ends.

With exploding testicles, that's how. Not even joking.

The male’s genitalia explode within the queen, which of course means the drone dies. The queen then can continue to mate with a number of other drones, storing their semen so she will be able to produce fertilised eggs in the future.

5. Clown fish

You know the saying "there are plenty more fish in the sea"? Not if you're a clownfish.

All clownfish are actually born as males, but as sequential hermaphrodites, they are able to turn into females later in life if necessary.

However, the odds are they won't ever get the chance to, because a group of clownfish only contains one female at any given time.

Interestingly, she mates exclusively with what is typically the most aggressive male of the group. None of the other guys get a chance to get in on the action -- meaning we're guessing there could be some pretty sexually frustrated clownfish out there.

When that female dies, the most dominant male will turn into a female to replace her, and the cycle begins again.

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