The Web of Life (121-0-2) Primal Urges

 Primal Urges

For all the cunning involved to getting sex, it is a primal urge, not unlike the drive to eat. The two may mix.

Some birds trade sex for food. Male hummingbirds may keep a female from select flowers until she offers herself, whereupon a few sips are on the house before she is sent on her way.

Roadrunner females squat in the mating position for a mate returning home with a lizard, but squat not for an empty beak coming back. 3 out of 4 roadrunner matings involve a delivered meal.

A female osprey incubating nest eggs relies upon her mate to bring her food. If the mate is late, for a passing stranger she might trade a trout for a fornication.

Food, sex, and bonding are not an uncommon combination. For enjoyment, mated blue jays pass tidbits beak to beak. Or they may just symbolically touch beaks.

Sometimes the lure of food is a ruse to attract the opposite sex. Male water mites attract mates by vibrating their legs at a frequency matching the small copepods that are favored fare. To enhance their allure, male orchid bees bathe themselves in the flower scents frequented for nectar.

Swordtail characins live in the rivers of Trinidad, eating hapless insects that plop into the water from riverbank vegetation. Male characins have a thin cord that extends from their gills. The cord ends in an ornament of sorts. A male dangles this ornament in front of female, who mistakes it for a bite to eat. When she gets close enough to bite the lure, the male is in a good position to inseminate her.